From Ratlam to Railways — the difficult journey of ‘record-breaker’ Ashutosh Sharma

Ashutosh Sharma was standing close to the positive leg on the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi on Tuesday afternoon, when Railways’ video analyst instructed him moderately loudly, “ tu ne toh record tod diya hai…”

As a puzzled Ashutosh requested the analyst which file had he damaged, pat got here the reply: “ Arrey, Yuvraj Singh ka…”

It took the younger all-rounder some time to come back to phrases with the truth that he had certainly damaged Yuvraj Singh’s file of the quickest fifty by an Indian. The Ratlam-born and Indore-raised Ashutosh hammered his fifty off simply 11 balls towards Arunachal Pradesh in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Group C conflict. And with that, he surpassed Yuvraj’s 16-year-old file of hanging a fifty off simply 12 balls towards England within the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007.

Ashutosh was simply 9 years previous when Yuvraj hit six sixes in an over off Stuart Broad in Durban to set a brand new file however remembers watching that iconic recreation on tv. But the 25-year-old, who considers Ben Stokes as his idol, by no means imagined that he would ever break Yuvraj’s file sometime.

READ | SMAT2023: Ashutosh Sharma hits quickest T20 fifty by an Indian

Moving to Indore on the age of eight, Asutosh joined the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association’s residential academy, which was then run by former India worldwide, Amay Khurasiya. While he had regular progress on the age-group stage, Ashutosh made his T20 debut method again in 2018 for Madhya Pradesh however final performed the format in 2019. In that 12 months, he featured in only one 50-over recreation, after which, he wasn’t actually within the scheme of issues.

“I waited for three years and last year, I decided to join the Railways. I scored three 50-plus scores in the 2019 edition of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for MP, but even then, I was not considered thereon. So, I had to take the tough decision,” Ashutosh instructed  Sportstar.

In the 2019 version of SMAT, Ashutosh scored 58 towards Mizoram, adopted by a 60 towards Meghalaya and an 84 towards Puducherry. “I was away from the game for about three years, so getting back into the groove was a challenge. But I practised a lot in the nets, hit a lot of sixes and that preparation really helped,” he mentioned.

Ashutosh walked out to bat when Railways was at 131 for 4 with simply 5 overs to go. He then smashed 53 off 12 — crafting his innings with eight sixes and a solitary 4. “When I took the crease, we did not have a huge run on the board because wicket  pe ball phas ke aa raha tha. I took a single off the first ball and then, realised that I should go big against the left-arm spinner, and I hit him for a few sixes, and in the next over, I hit a few more sixes off the fast bowler as well. I am happy to contribute to my team’s success,” he mentioned.

As a child rising up in Ratlam, Ashutosh admired native boy Naman Ojha loads. Ojha went on to play for India and helped Ashutosh loads. “As a kid, I would watch Naman  bhai play a lot, and that’s how I fell in love with the sport. I made my T20 debut for MP under Naman  bhai’s captaincy, and I owe him a lot for all the support,” Ashutosh mentioned.

While his father is a compounder at an area authorities hospital, his elder brother Anil is the one who has at all times inspired Ashutosh to pursue the game. Even after creating historical past, no person within the household knew of his file till he known as them as much as give the ‘ khush khabri’. “I called them up and told them about it. They were obviously very happy. I am the only cricketer in the family, so when it comes to all this, they don’t keep a tab,” he mentioned with a smile, “ Main hi phone karke batata hoon…”

Though the opponent was comparatively weak, Khurasiya — who performed a key function in Ashutosh’s journey — believes that this may entice fairly just a few IPL franchises. “It’s not easy to score a fifty in 11 balls. Nobody bowls full-toss to you no matter who the opponent is, so it’s an incredibly good effort, and a few more good innings might open a lot of doors for him,” Khurasiya mentioned.

Having identified him for the reason that age of 11, Khurasiya remembers Ashutosh as a ‘opening batter’, who might bowl a little bit of medium quick and was additionally a wicketkeeper. “He is a perfect fit as an opener or as a No.3. He started his career as a wicketkeeper-batter, and I am quite surprised to see him batting so lower down the order. He is a good boy, who’s always willing to learn,” Khursaiya mentioned. “He loves playing horizontal shots, those pulls… he’s got great height (6’1”) and has all the talents to turn into a match-winner…”

The final three years had been an eye-opener for Ashutosh, and after seeing the ups and downs moderately early in his profession, he’s completely happy to start out his ‘new chapter’ on a promising observe. Onwards and upwards!

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