I have always idolised the way MS Dhoni finished games, says Shahrukh Khan | Cricket News – Times of India

CHENNAI: From his last-ball six to help Tamil Nadu retain the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 last month to notching up consistent performances with the bat at the recently-concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy — M Shahrukh Khan has been the star of Tamil Nadu in 2021. With his ability to clear the fence at ease and keeping a cool head under pressure, he will be a sought-after player in the forthcoming IPL auctions as well. In fact it was a surprise for one and all that Punjab Kings did not retain him.
In a chat with TOI, the 26-year-old spoke on the role of a finisher, his learnings from being part of the IPL and more. Excerpts:
Having excelled in the white-ball formats this season, what are your expectations ahead of the IPL auctions to be held next year?
It is obviously there at the back of my mind. Having said that, I am not thinking too much about what’s going to happen (at the auctions). At the moment, I am only focusing on the preparations for the Ranji Trophy as I am keen to contribute for my team.
Where do you derive your mental strength?
It all boils down to the process. By process I mean — the preparations (for a game) begin much before the actual match is. The net sessions and the plans on how to go about my innings — all fall under the process part. With regards to the mental ability — I will have to thank our team’s assistant coach R Prasanna who has worked hard on me. He has known me since I was 15 or 16 and understands my game as we have played with each other. Prasanna keeps me highly motivated before a game and backs me to deliver each time I go out to bat. Also, the team management’s role for me has been very clear. The team think tank’s communication is clear and that allows me to express myself each time I go out to bat.
Whom have you modeled your game as a finisher?
MS Dhoni is the player I have always looked up to and I want to become a finisher like him. The way he goes about the game is a masterclass for all. He is fully aware of his abilities and the beauty of his batting is that he takes the game deep. The deeper you take the game — the more pressure the bowlers will be under and that automatically gives you more options to score and finish on the winning side.
Being a Chennai boy, do you aspire to don the CSK jersey in the near future?
At this moment, I am not really thinking too much about the IPL auctions and would prefer to focus more on Ranji Trophy preparations
What has been the biggest change in your game after playing for Punjab Kings XI in the IPL earlier this year?
After coming back from the IPL, I have done even better than what I did last year in white-ball cricket. This year — I have got the runs quicker. Being part of the IPL helped me grow in confidence. I started facing bowlers who bowled over 140kph regularly at the nets. We had the likes of Mohd Shami, Riley Meredith and Chris Jordan who were quick in the Punjab Kings XI line-up. When you face such high-quality bowlers both in the nets and during matches, your skillset goes up automatically.
Having mastered the white-ball game, how keen are you to make a similar impact in red ball cricket too?
Red ball is a different ball game. Having said that, I have done well in red-ball cricket as well. In my debut Ranji game against Kerala (at Chepauk) in 2018-19, I had scored an unbeaten 92 and also hit a gritty 55 against Delhi that season. I am ready for all formats of the game. The world’s best players such as David Warner aren’t just hard hitters of the white ball but also excel in the longest version of the game.

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