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“Ashutosh Sharma Plays Like Suryakumar Yadav”: India Great’s Big Praise For PBKS Star

Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh lavished praise on Punjab Kings uncapped batter Ashutosh Sharma for his valiant knock against Mumbai Indians in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024. When PBKS were down and dusted, Ashutosh raised hopes of an unprecedented comeback with some quality stroke play. In the 13th over, Ashutosh smoked the ball into the stands with a sweep shot off MI’s star speedster, Jasprit Bumrah. His shots resonated with the likes of South Africa’s ‘Mr 360 Degree’ Ab de Villiers and India’s dynamic batter, Suryakumar Yadav.

“He plays like Suryakumar Yadav and it is not easy to hit Bumrah for boundaries the way he does. MI won the game but Ashutosh won hearts,” Harbhajan said on his YouTube channel.

Before creating an impression in the ongoing IPL, Ashutosh has faced a lot of hardships in his life.

Harbhajan turned back the clock and recalled the time when a Madhya Pradesh coach sidelined the 25-year-old after which Ashutosh went into depression.

“Ashutosh was rejected by Madhya Pradesh, he played a top knock and it is said that he was in depression. He got a job in the Railways and the best thing that happened was he played for them and struck a half-century in 11 balls. This is a record and it shows the potential of the Ashutosh. Ashutosh has said it on record about the trouble that was caused by the coach,” Harbhajan added.

Ashutosh made his way to the top on the back of successful seasons in domestic cricket. In 2018, he made his senior debut at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

In the next season, with 233 runs, which included three half-centuries, he finished as the second-highest run-getter for Madhya Pradesh.

But in the next year, he was sidelined from the team and didn’t receive any explanation for the decision.

“In 2019 I scored 84 runs in my last game for MP [against Puducherry]. Then next year, there was a professional coach who came in and he had his likes and dislikes. He did not like me and sat me out of the team,” Ashutosh said without naming the coach. “Main bada depression me aa gaya tha [I went into depression]. That was the Covid time, so only 20 people used to travel, and I used to stay back at the hotel,” Ashutosh previously said, as quoted from ESPNcricinfo.

“I stayed at the hotel for one to two months. I was not even able to see the ground. All I did was go to the gym and come back to the room. I got really frustrated and slipped into depression. It was tough to come out of that. I kept thinking, where did I go wrong? I could not sleep for days. No one even said anything. I was driven out of the set-up without explanation. Those two to three years were pretty bad,” he added.

The 25-year-old raised PBKS from the ashes when they were down and out at 77/6.

He got PBKS close in the elusive chase, with three towering sixes off Akash Madhwal in the 16th over, bringing down the equation to 27 runs in 24 balls.

Ashutosh was caught off guard by a slower delivery from Gerald Coetzee in the 18th over. He ended the game with a score of 61 off 28 deliveries as PBKS suffered a nine-run defeat.

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