IPL 2021: Punjab Kings Shahrukh Khan to InsideSport.co, ‘Comparison with Kieron Pollard great but want to create my own identity’

IPL 2021: ‘Felt great being compared to Kieron Pollard but want to create my own identity,’ says Punjab Kings’ Shahrukh Khan
IPL 2021: ‘Felt great being compared to Kieron Pollard but want to create my own identity,’ says Punjab Kings’ Shahrukh Khan

IPL 2021 – Punjab Kings Shahrukh Khan: After making Tamil Nadu debut as a teenager back in 2014, South India’s own Shahrukh Khan steadily grew from a domestic cricketer with the potential to be an established name. In IPL 2021 auctions when Punjab Kings bought him for a whopping Rs. 5.25 crore fighting tooth and nail with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals, coach Anil Kumble was a happy man. In Shahrukh, Kumble and PBKS saw a batsman who could become their own Kieron Pollard.

He could play to the situations, taking a run a ball or smashing bowlers for fun. Before the tournament was suspended, Shahrukh showed glimpses of his potential in a very short time. While Shahrukh Khan did not get many runs in the tournament, facing only 84 balls in IPL 2021, he played both destructive knocks and the role of Punjab Kings’ anchorman. Be it his 36-ball 47 or 5-ball 15, the 25-year-old has already proved that he is ready for any situation.

Despite lockdown restrictions in Tamil Nadu, the 25-year-old has already begun polishing his skills to get back to the tournament and prove his worth. When the IPL 2021 resumes, he wants to get back and lift his scoring as well as Punjab Kings’ fortunes but to create his own identity and not become another Kieron Pollard.

Also Read: IPL 2021: Punjab Kings Shahrukh Khan narrates, ‘what he went through those 4 minutes of bidding at IPL auction’

IPL 2021: Shahrukh Khan exclusive – ‘Want to create my own identity’

InsideSport caught up with Shahrukh Khan for an exclusive chat as he returned home following IPL 2021 suspension due to rising COVID-19 cases inside IPL’s bio-bubble. Excerpts…

On debut IPL campaign and experience to take the jump…

A: It feels good to be there. Obviously, being a youngster, watching it from home on TV and then going there and playing this year when I got my opportunity felt good to rub shoulders with some big players there. I think I played 2-3 good innings. So, I feel a sense of belonging there.

On Anil Kumble comparing you to Kieron Pollard…

Definitely, that is obviously a big thing when Anil Kumble compared me to Kieron Pollard. But I’m just starting off. So, I feel that I need to create an identity of my own. I want to become what I do, the way I go about. Obviously, it’s a wonderful thing that he compared me to Kieron Pollard. He is head and shoulders ahead of me. I’m just starting off. I will get there but him comparing me to Kieron Pollard was pretty good.

Also Read: IPL 2021: Shahrukh Khan can aspire to be like Hardik, says Scott Styris

On familiarity of environment helping him settle in quickly…

Yeah, definitely. There are a lot of people other than them (Karnataka players) that I have played again. Mandeep Singh is there. He’s senior to me but I played against him in many of the matches, so it felt good. They really know who I am. I know who they are. We played together and against them. So, it wasn’t tough ice to break it. It was very easy.

On message from Anil Kumble and KL Rahul…

It was very simple for me. They just told me to go and do what I do for Tamil Nadu and nothing different, nothing else. They told me, ‘You don’t need to do anything differently yet. It’s just a change in name, but the ball, everything is the same. We’ll be very happy with it.’

Also Read: IPL 2021: Developed my game as a finisher in last couple of years, says Shahrukh Khan

On role in Punjab Kings in IPL 2021…

I wasn’t given any particular role. When I scored 47 (vs Chennai Super Kings), we were 4/5 down. I just had to play the situation at that point in time. I couldn’t go there and do what I generally do, take on the bowlers. I could have done that but in that situation, it was tough because we had lost a lot of wickets. I just wanted to go there, try and take it deep and then see how much we score. But we were losing wickets from the other end as well. So, I couldn’t push the score to 130-140. If wickets were there, we could have got there.

IPL 2021: Shahrukh Khan exclusive – ‘Want to create my own identity’

On first thought when IPL 2021 was suspended…

The momentum that I had or the team had was lost. Even though the last two games didn’t go well for me, I had created momentum for myself. Things were in place. But I think the decision was right because of the situation. I think there were too many cases in bio-bubble and rising and suspending it was right because of players’ safety.

Suspending the tournament does not really impact me mentally as an athlete because health and safety are much more important. If your health is affected due to COVID and stuff, there is nothing that puts more mental pressure than that. I definitely could have carried on the momentum. But whatever happened was for good. It’s okay. We will be refreshed and come back. It’s obviously going to be there in 2-3 months’ time. So, I’m looking forward to it.

On how Shahrukh Khan will take advantage of the break…

I will not make any changes to the game. I will just make little adjustments to my technique. I have already started training at home. I have a small facility at home. It’s a complete lockdown in Tamil Nadu. But I am training now. I think when you are at home for longer and can’t go out for practice, you have to emphasise both fitness and practice as much as you can. I am doing that currently.

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