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Friday, September 2, 2022

Hongkong in Cricket - Ayush Shukla !

Asia Cup 2022 is not a great format !  today, at Sharjah Pakis would maul minnows Hongkong and then in the next round there would be matches between – India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Srilanka. 

Another injury victim ! – a  right knee injury has ended Ravindra Jadeja's Asia Cup campaign. Axar Patel, who was initially named as a stand-by player, will join India's main squad as a like-for-like replacement. This is not the first time Jadeja has been troubled by his right knee. An injury to the same joint had forced him to miss the ODI leg of India's tour of the West Indies in July. The BCCI press statement that announced the latest injury did not specify its severity or estimate a recovery window. 

Today heard one commentator state that his father played alongside Rohit and few others and for sure would have been so delighted to see his son get the wicket of Rohit Sharma.  Ayush Shukla – a right hand bat and a right hand medium pacer debuted a couple of months earlier in ICC T20WC qualifier at Bulwayo, did not trouble the scorers and did not get to bowl on that day !  He is 19 years of age.


Within minutes of their Asia Cup opener finishing on Wednesday evening, members of the Hong Kong team placed a request through the local liaisons to help facilitate an interaction with the Indian team. The request was readily accepted and for over 15 minutes, players from both sides mingled with each other. Almost all of Hong Kong squad got pictures with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid and Hardik Pandya. Babar Hayat, the senior batter, described the moment as "dream come true." For young Ayush Shukla, the 19-year-old fast bowler, it was "once in a lifetime thing." "Going into their change room and having a chat with all the players, especially Virat and Rohit, getting feedback from them, such moments don't come often to us, so it was dream come true." Hayat said. 

For Shukla, born to Indian parents who live in Hong Kong, the moment was extra sweet. He may not have been here had his university been stringent with their policy of not permitting more than a set number of days off. Shukla is pursuing a bachelor's degree in finance and accounting in Auckland and, for the past three months, he has been taking online classes to keep up with his course work. On Wednesday, he couldn't stop smiling for two reasons. He'd dismissed Rohit, and also later had an opportunity to chat with him and take pictures. "It was a massive moment to get Rohit out, it's the best feeling," Shukla said. "I still can't believe I got Rohit Sharma out. For me, it's a big experience. Playing with them and against them on the same ground. 

Remember another Shukla who played Ranji trophy with much success and played for India too once at Chepauk against Srilanka.   Rakesh Shukla was a pillar of strength for Delhi for many years. He had an excellent record in the Ranji Trophy being a  late order batsman and a legbreak-googly bowler.  Shukla took 313 wickets (18.98) in the national competition. With the bat his finest moment came in the 1981-82 final against Karnataka when he and Rajesh Peter added an unbeaten 118 runs for the ninth wicket to steer Delhi past Karnataka's first innings of 705 for a memorable triumph. In the only Test he played - against Sri Lanka at Madras in Sept 1982 which incidentally was the first Test between the two countries - Shukla did not get to bat;  finished with figures of 0 for 70 and 2 for 82, the prized wickets of Roy Dias and Duleep Mendis. 

His elder brother Anand Shukla scored 4312 FC runs and took 382 wickets turning up for Bihar, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.   More recently, there was LRS (Laxmi Ratan Shukla) who promised to be a genuine allrounder but faded playing only 3 ODIs. He played in IPL too and later entered politics in West Bengal representing TMC


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

2nd Sept. 2022 

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