Right-hand batsman and wicketkeeper, Sheldon Jackson, made his first-class debut for Saurashtra in 2011. He rose to prominence in the domestic circuit during the Ranji Trophy season 2012-13 and since then he has done consistently well.
Earlier this month, the 29-year-old started the new season with an unbeaten 303 for Globe Trotters Sports Club, owned by MRF, against United Friends Cricket Club in a four-day match in the Tamil Nadu first-division league. It was Sheldon’s second triple-hundred of his career as the first came when he was playing Under-19 cricket.
In an exclusive interview with Circle of Cricket, Sheldon Jackson talks about his experience of scoring a triple century, his domestic career and a lot more.
Q: Hitting a triple ton is one of the toughest challenges for a batsman and you have achieved that feat twice. Tell us how do you feel about it?
A: It feels great to be one of the few. In most cases, a batsman cannot plan well in advance that he would go on to score these many runs but it just happens and by the grace of god, it has happened to me the second time and yes, I am happy about it.
Q: Tell us about how you planned your innings. After reaching triple figures, did you have a triple hundred in mind?
A: It does come into your mind but only after you reach a certain score. If you are batting on a hundred or a two hundred plus and you are well set, then it starts coming to your mind that you can actually score big and get a triple ton. Similarly, in this game, after scoring 200 it came into my mind that I should look for a triple top if I bat throughout.
Q: You had a terrific Ranji Trophy season in the year 2014-15 in which you scored 819 runs in 8 matches and you have constantly performed in the domestic circuit. How important is it to keep performing at the domestic level?
A: It is difficult to perform every year especially in a tournament like Ranji Trophy as every team is a quality team and every player is a quality player. But yes, it is every cricketer’s dream to perform. You work hard to perform. Sometimes it works in your favour and sometimes, it does not.
Q: You lost your father at the age of 10. What has been the role of your mother in helping you become a cricketer?
A: I started playing cricket when I was 13. My mother never really forced me for anything. Education was always there but at the same time, she knew I loved playing cricket. As long as I was balancing both, she had no problems.
After a certain point of time, I got more inclined towards cricket and she did not hold me back as I was not that great in education. Till 7th standard I was a good student and I believe every student does well till 6-7 standard (Laughs). Mom has always been supportive and that’s what a child always wants. Her support has actually motivated me to give my best.
Q: You scored a very important half century for Rest Of India when they chased down a huge total of over 480 to win the Irani Cup. How was the feeling then?
A: That game was a total team effort. If you see, right from the second innings, our bowlers brought us back into the game by getting Mumbai all out for a score of 182. Jaydev Unadkat, Jayant Yadav, and almost all our bowlers bowled superbly to get us back in the game.
Then came Faiz Fazal’s hundred and Karun Nair’s ninety so it was a complete team effort and no one single-handedly helped us win the game. Chasing 480 runs In 5 sessions against Mumbai does not happen too often.
Q: As you are part of the KKR squad, this year you got to spend time with legendary Mark Boucher who was the wicket-keeping consultant. Did you learn a thing or two from him?
A: I have always said that Mark Boucher has been the best thing that happened to me. He taught me certain things about keeping that were totally on a different level. Be it about keeping or at a personal level, he has been an impactful person for me.
Q: Since MSD has retired from Test cricket, a lot of youngsters have been in contention to take up the keeping role. What do you think about your chances?
A: All I have in my mind right now is to enjoy the game and perform and just try to give everything that I have to the game. If I keep performing, I’m sure I will reach there. Performance is the key for me.
Q: You have a Casper. Tell us about your affection towards dogs?
A: After getting Casper into my life, I have become a pet lover. He is joy for me. I get a lot of happiness when he is around. To sum it up, he is my happiness.
Q: What is your favorite pastime when you are not playing cricket?
A: I like to spend time with my family which is my mother and my pet. When not playing cricket, I am mostly working. I work for the Income Tax Department of India. Don’t really follow any other sport apart from cricket.
Q: Who is that one cricketer you look up to?
A: Gautam Gambhir. Really look up to him for his Aggression and hard work towards the game. It was wonderful to work with him during the IPL. We both represent Kolkata Knight Riders.
Q: How are you looking to approach this season, in the domestic circuit? Anything special you are working on in terms of batting or keeping?
A: Don’t really have plans set as such. I am just looking to perform well and help whichever team I play for. Performance is the key.