The new Chairman of Selectors, Ajit Agarkar, announced the squad for the T20I series against West Indies, giving opportunities to young players who performed well in the IPL 2023. However, one player who didn’t make the cut was Jitesh Sharma, the 29-year-old wicketkeeper batter. Despite Rishabh Pant’s absence due to injury, Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan were preferred over him. Expressing his disappointment, Sharma believed that perhaps God has bigger plans for him.
Jitesh had a decent IPL season, scoring 309 runs in 14 matches for Punjab Kings with an average of 23.77 and a strike rate of 156.06. He had previously been a part of the India squad for home series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Reflecting on his time with head coach Rahul Dravid, Sharma shared the advice he received and the experience of being in the national team setup.
“They were quite welcoming. Rahul (Dravid) sir told me that you are doing very well. And these are the kind of players that we are looking for. When I told him that I want to score big runs, he told me that at the position you play, runs don’t matter, impact matters. The more you contribute towards the win, that will be important for the team,”
Jitesh and his impressive IPL 2023
In a memorable IPL match against Mumbai Indians, Jitesh Sharma, hailing from Maharashtra, played a remarkable innings of 49* off 27 balls, including five fours and two sixes. He also displayed impressive skills behind the stumps, with five dismissals throughout the season. With a T20 career tally of 2096 runs in 90 matches, averaging 29.11 and striking at 149.07. Furthermore, Sharma has registered one century and nine half-centuries in this format.
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