KOCHI: Jalaj Saxena has perhaps got used to getting ignored when national selectors pick the Indian team. Undeterred, the all-rounder soldiers on and keeps performing.
Recently, he enhanced his reputation as one of the best all-rounders in the country by joining an elite group who scored 6000 runs and took 300 wickets in first-class cricket. He is the 19th cricketer in India to achieve this feat in a list that includes CK Nayudu, Lala Amarnath, Vijay Hazare and Kapil Dev. Interestingly, Saxena is the only one in this lot who hasn’t played for India.
Saxena, who reached this landmark in the ongoing Duleep Trophy, has not given up on his dream of getting that elusive cap. “It’s very satisfying when you see your name with legends. It’s amazing. Seeing my name with them is like a dream come true,”he said.
However, when it comes to the bigger picture, there is only one thing on his mind. “It gives me satisfaction that my game has produced such results. My target remains the same — playing for the country. That’s my motivation and I’ll keep working towards it.”
The batsman who bowls off-spin has been making the right noises in domestic cricket on a consistent basis. For four seasons, Saxena has been the recipient of the Lala Amarnath Award given to the best all-rounder in Ranji Trophy. He is also the only Indian to score a hundred and bag an eight-wicket haul on two occasions. The first came in 2017-18 against Rajasthan and the second against Andhra last season.
Saxena said he has been receiving congratulatory messages from teammates and friends but the call he craves for is from the selectors. “It’s not my job to say anything to anyone (selectors). It’s the job of the selectors to select and my job is to perform. I’m just concentrating on my job and I hope that they notice my performance and select me. I don’t have anything to say to them. I have to do my work,” he said.
6000 runs, 300 wickets
CK Nayudu, Lala Amarnath, Vijay Hazare, Vinoo Mankad, Chandu Sarwate, Polly Umrigar, Bapu Nadkarni, Chandu Borde, ML Jaisimha, Salim Durani, S Venkataraghavan, Abid Ali, Madan Lal, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Manoj Prabhakar, Sairaj Bahutule, Sanjay Bangar, Jalaj Saxena.