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I still have much more to offer to cricket, says Laxmi Ratan Shukla | Cricket News – Times of India


KOLKATA: While not ruling out a comeback to the political crease, India all-rounder-turned-minister-turned coach Lakshmi Ratan Shukla said he decided to return to the cricketing greens as he had much more to offer to the gentleman’s game, the first love of his life.
The 42-year-old ex-minister of state for youth services and sports said quitting politics was “quite tough”, but the decision was prompted by realisation that he still had a lot to give back to the game.
“I realised that I have so much to offer to this beautiful sport. I knew it was the right time to harness the budding talents of Bengal and prepare them for a place in the cricketing sun,” Shukla told PTI during an exclusive interaction at its Kolkata office.
Shukla, who made his debut in India colours against Sri Lanka in 1999, runs two cricket academies – one in Howrah and another in Jhargram – where coaching is provided free of cost. The `Howrah boy’ has 6217 runs and 172 wickets to his credit in first-class matches.
“Baba (father) used to coach me and my brother, but he could not send us to cricket academies due to financial constraints. This has always been on my mind since childhood. So when I got an opportunity, I decided to open these training centres.
“The academies don’t charge anything for coaching children. I cannot earn money by sharing my knowledge about cricket with children. I make use of the BCCI pension to manage the costs,” he said.
Around 960 children are enrolled in the two academies.
The former Bengal captain, however, did not rule out a comeback to politics in the future.
Shukla also said he is still a member of the Trinamool Congress, the ruling party in the state which he had joined in 2016. He resigned as minister, MLA and as president of TMC’s Howrah district unit in January 2021.
“People were surprised when I quit politics. There is no doubt that had I contested, I could have easily won by at least 50,000 votes.
“I must reiterate that the decision to resign was only because I wanted to concentrate more on sports and training children. My current priority is cricket and nothing else. I don’t know about the future (joining active politics again) … anything can happen anytime … This much I can say that I and ‘Didi’ (Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) share a very sweet tie,” he said.
Banerjee, while accepting Shukla’s resignation last year, had described him as a “good boy” and wished him good luck.





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