Not getting the support from his employers has forced Saurashtra star Sheldon Jackson to opt out from Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s (TNCA) top flight league and play TNCA’s lower division (second) league. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who made his IPL debut with Kolkata Knight Riders this year, has been a regular in TNCA’s first division league for the last three years, plying his trade for Chemplast in the off-season. However, the 27-year old has been compelled to play the second division league this year after being denied the leave from his employer Income Tax.
The second division games happen to be a 50-over affair for each side that are played on weekends while the first-division cricket is a three-day format. But due to the lack of support, Jackson has decided to ply his trade on the weekends.
“I didn’t get support from my department on the leave front. As first division is a three-day format, I decided to opt out. I signed up for Aruna CC as I had to register for TNPL as well. I will be playing second division this season as the matches will be played either on Saturdays or Sundays. I can fly down, play the match and leave the same day back home,” Jackson, who is a tax assistant at the Income Tax (Ahmedabad), told TOI.
Sheldon, nevertheless, made a huge impact on his debut for Aruna CC, scoring 173 off just 141 balls as his side chased down 256 inside 43 overs.
He further lauded the quality of cricket played in TNCA, even calling it the best in the country. And while ruing his absence from the first-class division, the right-handed batsman said the second-division is also competitive.
“From my experience, I think the quality of cricket played in the TNCA league is the best in the country. I used to get myself set playing here ahead of the season. Not playing first division is a big loss. The good thing is there are quite a few quality first-class cricketers who are also part of the second division. It’s competitive,” said Jackson, who scored a triple century for Globe Trotters in the league last year.