Ranji Trophy: Saurashtra batsman Sheldon Jackson names Virat Kohli as fitness inspiration after title-winning season

The 33-year-old Jackson amassed 800 plus runs for the second year in a row to help Saurashtra win their maiden Ranji Trophy after three failed attempts.

Press Trust of India, Mar 26, 2020 17:56:07 IST

Seasoned Saurashtra batsman Sheldon Jackson has reaped big benefits of becoming a 'six-pack' cricketer this Ranji Trophy season and says the inspiration came from national team captain Virat Kohli, someone who has redefined fitness in Indian cricket.

The 33-year-old Jackson amassed 800 plus runs for the second year in a row to help Saurashtra win their maiden Ranji Trophy after three failed attempts.

Jackson was one of the architects of the triumph with 809 runs at 50.56. The Bhavnagar-born batsman feels the effort that he put into improving his fitness over the past 12 months played a massive role in his consistent run this season.

"It was actually the Virat story that inspired me. With the exemplary skills that he has, if he still thought he needed to get fitter then we are nothing in front of him," said Jackson, who saw Kohli's fitness regimen from close quarters during his stint with the RCB back in 2013.

By his own admission, Jackson was very "raw" in 2013 but six seasons later, he has gone on to become Saurashtra's main batsman in all formats. In fact, the Jaydev Unadkat-led side was a well-oiled machine this season with both star and lesser-known players producing match-winning performances.

"The people who helped me were normal gym trainers. My friends, who used to work out with me in Ahmedabad, they used to see that I was working hard but not getting the results.

"Till last year I used to eat anything, all possible junk, but they (gym trainers) were the ones who taught me to eat well to perform. It has benefited me hugely in my recovery and strength," said Jackson, who is proud of being the only 'six-pack' cricketer in the Saurashtra team.

The batsman, who works for the Income Tax Office in Ahmedadad, made 854 runs even last year but thought he could do much better on the fitness front. And that is what triggered the transformation.

"I thought cricket was a skill game but I was totally wrong. Cricket is a skill game which needs a lot of fitness because if you are fit, you can perform well under pressure, especially when your body is tired," he pointed out.

Having played last for India A in 2016, Jackson has experienced frustration many times but has not let it get the better of him. Saurashtra made the Ranji final even last year but no player made the India-A cut.

Having questioned selectors' decision to ignore Saurashtra players following the last season, all Jackson wants now is to play at a higher level. This is actually his wish for all his teammates.

"I believe that due importance has to be given to Ranji performances. Even Cheteshwar Pujara (his teammate) has spoken about it and if he said it, it has to have substance.

"We have not won a lot of trophies over the last 10 years but we have been consistently reaching the finals. It is sad that Saurashtra is looked (at) as a small team. I hope this perception changes sooner than later.

"We are performing year after year and players need to get opportunities. First-class cricket in India is so tough that it is hard to just make the knockouts, let alone reaching the final," he said.

People keep reminding him his age and though Jackson feels it should not be a selection criteria, he knows that he is running out of time.

"I have been hearing a lot about my age ever since I turned 30. It is written nowhere that you can't play (at a higher level) after 30 but with the talent that India has, it is very easy to be overlooked. I am against this mindset but it is what it is," added Jackson.

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Updated Date: Mar 26, 2020 17:56:07 IST


IPL 2020 POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Chennai
0 0 0 0 0
2
Delhi
0 0 0 0 0
3
Kolkata
0 0 0 0 0
4
Punjab
0 0 0 0 0
5
Mumbai
0 0 0 0 0
6
Bangalore
0 0 0 0 0
7
Rajasthan
0 0 0 0 0
8
Hyderabad
0 0 0 0 0
View Full Table




Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5211 116
2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
6 Sri Lanka 4191 91
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
6 New Zealand 7114 245