Kerala all-rounder Jalaj Saxena achieved a rare feat in Duleep Trophy 2019 representing India Blue. The 32-year-old is the only uncapped player to score 6,000+ runs and claim 300 wickets in first-class cricket.
Saxena entered an elite group of legends; he is the only player in the list who is yet to represent India.
The Indore-born cricketer started his domestic career in Madhya Pradesh. Then, he moved to Kerala for better opportunities. At present, Saxena is 113 first-class games old with 6,044 runs; the right arm off-break fetched him 305 wickets.
"I knew I completed 300 wickets but I did not know that I am the only uncapped player among the legends. I feel honoured to learn that I am in the same list with Polly Umrigar, Lala Amarnath, Kapil Dev," he told Sportstar on Wednesday.
Despite a solid domestic cricket career spanning 14 years, Saxena never heard from the national selectors but he maintains the drive to play for the country. "I don’t think it is my area. It is the selector’s job. From my part, I am putting in my 100 per cent and trying my best. Selection is not in my hands. I am not thinking about it. I am very motivated to play for India though I am 32," he said.
Earlier this year, IPL franchise Delhi Capitals bought Saxena at his base price of Rs 20 lakh. But even there, he did not get a game.
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DC stuck to its winning combination but Saxena credits head coach Ricky Ponting for preparing him with care. "The best part in DC was that they kept communicating throughout the tournament. They were playing extremely well in that combination. At the end of the day, it is all about the team combination.
"There were instances when Ricky came to me and said they are keeping me ready for a chance in the playing XI. They ensured I get the best preparation whenever a chance comes. I was fortunate to be part of the group," he reasoned.
After the Duleep Trophy, Saxena will join Kerala's pre-season camp from September 10.
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