Sheldon Jackson: 'I play for my mother's happiness'

Mum’s the word for Sheldon Jackson. For the Saurashtra swashbuckler, his mother means the world to him. "I lost my dad Philip Jackson when I was 11. From there it’s been a lot of hardship for her," said Jackson of his school teacher mother Sedrene.

Sheldon Jackson celebrates after scoring his hundred against Maharashtra, his 12th in domestic cricket.   -  Basheer

Mum’s the word for Sheldon Jackson. For the Saurashtra swashbuckler, his mother means the world to him. “I lost my dad Philip Jackson when I was 11. From there it’s been a lot of hardship for her,” said Jackson of his school teacher mother Sedrene.

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“My paternal aunt Jennifer and uncle Lester Bell are part of our joint family,” he acknowledged of the trio who ensured his needs were never neglected.

“I play for her happiness and theirs,” he said shortly after he compiled a dozen centuries in first-class cricket, the latest against Maharashtra at the Dr. P.V.G. Raju-Andhra Cricket Association Sports Complex ground, Vizianagaram, hometown of the legendary Vizzy.

Just as he has no qualms about being mama’s boy, so does Sheldon wear his religion on his sleeve. Tattoos of the cross are elaborate on the biceps and forearm of his right and playing hand. “I am not ashamed of proclaiming it. Whatever I am is because of Him,” said the erstwhile Protestant now turned Roman Catholic.

In an age when religion is ridiculed and rejected, he goes down on his knee. Right in the middle of the cricket ground, to him the highest stage he has reached thus far, each time he records a milestone, he puts the Sign of the Cross.

“Some arenas inspire confidence,” said Sheldon. A happy hunting ground for him, he registered two centuries and a 76 in three games here before which he had two hundreds for India Blue in the Duleep Trophy.

With Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja coming higher up in Saurashtra’s batting order, he comes out to bat lower down the order. That doesn’t dent his confidence on his quest to reach the game’s highest echelons. He’s egged on by lusty cheering from school boy campers at the neatly manicured facility. They go into raptures when he simply walks in. Jackson returns the compliment, clearing the boundary no less than five times in his latest outing.

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