“Whenever I’ve tried batting till the end, I’ve finished games for the team. My team has always been on the winning side,” starts off a confident sounding Shahrukh Khan in an exclusive interview with Punjab Kings. 

And the 25-year-old has good reason to sound confident, after playing an integral part in Tamil Nadu’s victorious campaign in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Shahrukh played match-winning cameos against Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. The youngster has continued his meteoric rise with match-winning fifties in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well against Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. 

“My natural game is to be aggressive and try and hit the ball hard. I am that sort of a player who likes getting runs quickly,” continues Shahrukh in the interview. This aggressive approach helped the Tamil Nadu man carve a niche for himself in age group cricket, but as he progressed up the ranks he realised the importance of being more tempered, adding a level of maturity to his cricket.

“After the 2019 Vijay Hazare trophy when we were playing in Jaipur, the role of the finisher of the Tamil Nadu team was assigned to me, and there was a lot of pressure on me at times to finish games. Going in the middle when you need 120 runs off 60-70 odd balls, there is pressure on the batsman,” explains Shahrukh. 

Shahrukh however found a mentor figure in Dinesh Karthik, who having been in those pressure cooker situations innumerable times through his career, was able to impart the perfect guidance for a willing disciple. 

“Dinesh (Karthik) knew there was a lot of pressure on me to finish games, so he used to work with me in the nets. He would chuck balls at me, or he would stand behind me in the nets and give me certain targets and scenarios in every practice session. He really took care of me and even during matches when I used to bat with him, he guided me perfectly.

“Whatever the result of the game, Dinesh told me to always finish the 50 overs or 20 overs in the game, depending on the format we were playing. Whenever I have tried batting till the end, I have finished games for my side. So he has given me this confidence that no matter what happens, I will finish games for the team if I bat till the end. 

“I think I’ve blindly trusted that advice and worked towards that,” added Shahrukh, giving all an insight into what goes on in his head when tasked with finishing games for the team. 

With strong performances in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the 25-year-old now seems to have perfected his mantra for finishing games, and now with the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League looming large, Shahrukh Khan would be rearing to shine on the big stage.