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IPL 2024: Shashank Singh - Journeyman Cricketer finally announces his arrival

IPL 2024: Shashank Singh - From IPL 2024 Auction controversy to match winning knock for Punjab Kings. Preeti Zinta's tweet goes viral as she breaks silence on Shashank Singh.

IPL 2024: Shashank Singh - From IPL 2024 Auction controversy to winning game for Punjab Kings | Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Shashank Singh scored 61 against GT and took PBKS home (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)

Every year, IPL unearths new talented youngsters who not only shine in this league but also go on to make national debuts and shine on the international stage. Players such as Rinku Singh and Jitesh Sharma are products of the IPL, shining bright at the international stage as well. But this edition of the IPL has brought to the fore 32-year-old Shashank Singh who played the innings of his life when he cracked 61 not out off 29 balls to steer Punjab Kings to a thrilling win over Gujarat Titans. 

Shashank Singh: An accidental signing? 

But if reports are to be believed Shashank Singh was an “accidental signing” by the Punjab Kings. During the IPL 2024 auction, Punjab Kings bid and bought Shashank Singh in the accelerated round, but the owners suggested to the auctioneer Mallika Sagar that it wasn’t Shashank Singh they were looking for. But the auctioneer has moved on to another player by then. 

Later, Punjab clarified the 32-year-old Shashank was the one they were eyeing, and the confusion was due to two players having the same name. Shashank also posted a social media update stating, “It’s All Cool … Thank you for Trusting me!!!!” But by then, memes went viral about this “accidental signing”.

Shashank-led rescue mission for PBKS against GT 

However, irrespective of it, Shashank has made his franchise and its owners proud with his latest performance. He won a match that seemed a lost cause for Punjab. He came into bat when the asking rate was hovering around 12. Moreover, he had to face world-class bowlers in Mohit Sharma, Rashid Khan, Umesh Yadav, and Noor Ahmad. 

But Shashank Singh didn’t look at the bowlers or their reputation. He just saw the ball and reacted to it. He was quoted as saying, “They are the legends of the game, but when I go to bat I think I am the best…Coach told me to react to the ball.”

He was ably supported by impact player Ashutosh Sharma, who cracked 17-ball 31 in the death overs. The two put on a 43-run stand in 3.4 overs before Shashank levelled the scores with a four in the last over. A leg-bye off the next ball sealed a memorable win for Punjab

His clean hitting stood out in the performance against the Titans. He picked up the slower back-off-the-hand ball from Mohit on the last ball of the penultimate over to smack a six and bring down the equation to 7 off 6 balls. Earlier, he slogged swept a full delivery from Rashid for a maximum. He didn’t spare Noor’s googly either. He also struck a series of 4, 6 and 4 against Umesh to seize the momentum in the 11th over. Shashank said he had visualised all the big-hitting and the match-winning knock before the match. “But obviously turning it into reality, (I’m) feeling very happy and proud of myself,” he said.

IPL 2024, GT vs PBKS_ Shashank Singh-Ashutosh Sharma added 42 runs off 22 balls _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_IPLT20)
Shashank Singh-Ashutosh Sharma added 43 runs off 22 balls (Images: ©BCCI/IPLT20)
Struggles have been a constant for the Chhattisgarh-born 

But it was anything but accidental, given his career graph. Shashank Singh has been part of three IPL franchises before making fans sit and take notice of his talent in this edition. He was part of Delhi Daredevils in 2017, Rajasthan Royals in 2019, and 2020. But he finally made his IPL debut with Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2022. In his first IPL innings, he smoked 6-ball 25* against the Titans, including three consecutive sixes against Lockie Ferguson. But Shashank could not make it count and ended up with just 69 runs in 10 matches with no wickets with his off-break bowling.

Even in domestic cricket, he had his fair share of struggles. He started his age-group cricket with Mumbai but played just 15 T20s and three List-A games over four seasons. He moved to Puducherry but played just one List-A game before settling with Chhattisgarh, his place of birth. He finally made his First-Class debut for Chhattisgarh in 2019-20. He claimed fame when he scored 154 and took five wickets in a List-A game against Manipur in 2023, thus becoming the first Indian to achieve this double in this format of the game. 

But now, Shashank would be known more for his 61* against the Titans, and striking sixes against Rashid, Noor, Umesh, and Mohit unless he plays another blinder.

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