Shahrukh Khan ready for stardom, finally

Shahrukh Khan seems to be finally fulfilling the potential he showed as a teenager, when he consistently played big innings for Tamil Nadu in age-group cricket.

M. Shahrukh Khan opened the innings for Kovai Kings in the TNPL with considerable success.   -  M. VEDHAN

The IPL talent scouts are here. That isn’t surprising, as the city is hosting Vijay Hazare Trophy tournament matches across three venues.

They are of course on the lookout for the new, unfamiliar names. “Who is that tall, muscular batsman?” one of them wanted to know.

He has one of the most familiar names in India, though – Shahrukh Khan. The talent scout wondered whether the cricketer’s name spelt the same as the Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

The batsman’s full name is M. Shahrukh Khan. At 24, he seems to be finally fulfilling the huge potential he showed as a teenager, when he consistently played big innings for Tamil Nadu in age-group cricket.

Batting in a strong line-up, he hasn’t got too many opportunities in this tournament, but he has still been able to make a mark. The scintillating 69 not out off 45 balls against Bengal showed what he was capable of.

When he joined captain Dinesh Karthik in the middle, Tamil Nadu was in a spot of bother at 123 for five against a quality seam attack. By the time the skipper had gone, just three short of a hundred, the sixth wicket had raised 153 runs in just 75 balls.

“I was very pleased with that innings because it came at an important time for the team,” Shahrukh told Sportstar here on Sunday. “I knew that I had to preserve my wicket. And I enjoyed batting with my captain, who is such an aggressive batsman.”

Shahrukh had started the tournament on the right note, making 48 off 39 balls in the opening match against Rajasthan. He has proved to be an effective finisher for Tamil Nadu.

“That is the role I have been assigned, and something I really enjoy,” he said. “But I don’t mind batting up the order, either.”

Like he did at the TNPL, in which he opened the innings, with considerable success, for Kovai Kings. “The experience at the TNPL has helped me tremendously,” he said.

After making List A debut in 2014, he made his Ranji Trophy debut last year. Playing in his hometown of Chennai, he made an unbeaten 92 against an excellent pace attack of Kerala.
“I think these opportunities have come at the right time for me,” said Shahrukh. “Maybe I needed those years to mature as a batsman.”

That maturity, and those big shots he plays, could serve Tamil Nadu for a long time.