Saurashtra’s experienced wicketkeeper-batter Sheldon Jackson opened up on his continuous snub from the Indian selectors. Jackson said an influential member of the Indian set-up once told him that he is way too “old” to make the Test squad.
This, Jackson stated, at a time when even players older than him have gone on to make the Test team over the years. Since the retirement of MS Dhoni, the Indian selectors have given the nod to Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant, while intermittently going back to Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik.
But they have never looked in Jackson’s direction, even as his performances stand rich in the Indian first-class circuit. That is despite the 35-year-old being one of the rare wicketkeeper-batters to be averaging in excess of 50 in red-ball cricket over a large sample size of 79 matches.
“To be honest, this has not happened just this year, it has been happening since the beginning,” Jackson told Sportskeeda. “The amount of runs and the rate at which I got them, I don’t think many in the country have. If you see 75 matches and around 6000 runs, that shows what I have achieved through my hard work.”
Sheldon Jackson unveiled he was deemed old because of ageing above 30 by one of the decision-makers, even as the selection committee trialled many other experienced first-class cricketers of the same age bracket.
“There has been no communication (on why I was not picked) but once I asked someone what more I need to do, I was told I am old,” he said. They told me that above 30, we are not picking anyone.”
“But ultimately, after a year, they picked someone who was around 32-33. I was very vocal that is there any law that once you’re above 30, 35 or even 40 you cannot get picked? Then why don’t you come out with a law itself?”
Such remarks from the selectors could easily dishearten any cricketer – even recently, he saw KS Bharat climb over him in the order of preference – but what keeps Sheldon Jackson going is an unwavering love for the game and the motivation provided to him by the local coaches in Saurashtra.
“It is very difficult because year in and year out, you’re putting in the hard yards, being consistent, because Indian domestic cricket is so difficult, to be consistent over there year in year out. But that is the motivation for me,” said the Indian domestic great.