Ashutosh Sharma conquers the demons to shine like a beacon for Punjab Kings in IPL 2024

Ashutosh Sharma with Arshdeep Singh
Ashutosh Sharma with Arshdeep Singh (PC: IPL/X)

Ashutosh Sharma arrived at the crease to bat alongside Shashank Singh when the momentum was with Gujrat Titans. The run rate was rising and with the last recognised batting pair in the middle, the pressure was on Ashutosh to deliver for Punjab Kings on Thursday. With true grit and some luck, impact sub Ashutosh chased down 200 with the help of Shashank at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.

Talking about his performance against the Titans, said Ashutosh: “It was a very similar situation to how I have been playing in domestic cricket. I just wanted to back myself and perform for my team. The pre-season camp has helped me a lot as well as I was put in such match situations by Sanjay Bangar Sir and was asked to deliver. The main objective in such situations is to remain focused.”

Ashutosh first grabbed headlines when he smashed his way into record books, overtaking Yuvraj Singh’s long-standing achievement for the fastest fifty by an Indian in T20 cricket. Hailing from Ratlam but having honed his skills in Indore, Ashutosh blitzed his way to a fifty off just 11 balls during a thrilling clash against Arunachal Pradesh in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Group C match two years back. After that, it has just got better for the 25-year-old Ashutosh.

During his early days in cricket, Ashutosh faced challenges and emphasised the importance of learning independence from a young age. It contributed to his personal growth. Despite the hurdles, he represented Madhya Pradesh in under-16 and under-19 and senior cricket. However, his career paused when he started playing for Railways. Reflecting on this period, Ashutosh shared his disappointment, particularly recalling a moment in 2019 when he scored 84 runs in his last T20 game for Madhya Pradesh, only to find himself sidelined the following year despite consistent performances.

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Expressing his feelings, Ashutosh said, “In 2019, I scored 84 runs in my last game for Madhya Pradesh in T20 and the next year I was asked to sit out even after some good performances in the previous year. This was extremely disappointing for me. I was quite depressed as it was during the Covid time as well. I had been removed from the set-up without anybody informing me.”

Despite zero communication over his exclusion from the team, Ashutosh persevered through dedicated practice sessions. Eventually, he found support from the Railways, a team which allowed him to shine. While acknowledging this as a tough phase in his life, Ashutosh stayed positive and confident to overcome adversities. He added, “This was a tough period in my life but I was always sure I could get out of this.”

Ashutosh expressed his gratitude towards Sanjay Bangar, acknowledging him as a consistent pillar of support throughout his journey. He highlighted Bangar’s belief in his abilities beyond mere slogging, recognising his proficiency in proper cricketing shots, which proved advantageous. The Punjab Kings, having invested in this promising talent, would undoubtedly be pleased with their decision. Both the franchise and Ashutosh himself aspire to maintain their positive momentum, aiming to make a lasting impact in IPL 2024.

Also Read: There were times when I thought I wasn’t good enough: Shashank Singh after his game-breaking innings

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