Shahrukh Khan: IPL auction on my mind, but it won’t affect my preparations

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Along with R Sai Kishore, the Tamil Nadu batter has been named as a standby for India’s upcoming series against West Indies

Shahrukh Khan, the big-hitting Tamil Nadu batter, has admitted that he will have an eye on the upcoming IPL auction in Bengaluru, even as he has been named one of India’s standbys for the T20I leg of the the upcoming home series against West Indies.

“Of course, it [thoughts about the auction] is there somewhere in my mind, but I am not going to let it affect my preparations for the next day,” Shahrukh, who is currently undergoing mandatory quarantine, told ESPNcricinfo. He was drafted into Punjab Kings’ squad for INR 5.25 crore ahead of IPL 2021, and though his opportunities with the team were limited, he has built a massive reputation in domestic cricket.

That was evident during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final against Karnataka last November, where he clobbered an unbeaten 15-ball 33 to win his team the title, sealing the final with a six off the last ball. Shahrukh, who says his entire family was enjoying their dinner when news of his selection for the West Indies T20Is was revealed, feels he would want to play a similar style of cricket if picked for India during the series.

“Playing for India is a huge responsibility in itself, and brings with it its own pressure,” Shahrukh said. “There are some massive names in this team, and I have grown up watching them on TV. My aim – if I get the chance – would be to simply go with an open mind and enjoy my cricket, just the way I do for Tamil Nadu.

“If I overthink this, then I would just create more pressure on myself and stray from my natural game. My aim in every game is to go out to the middle and play freely, without worrying too much about the results and focusing on the process instead.”

Shahrukh and his Tamil Nadu team-mate R Sai Kishore have both joined the India squad ahead of the T20Is, and are expected to be among the prominent names among uncapped Indian players who could be in demand during the auction in Bengaluru which will feature two new franchises for the 2022 season. But Shahrukh isn’t too fussed about how much of an increase he might get to see from his base price, set at INR 40 lakh ahead of the auction.

“It depends on which set you are in, which are the names that have been brought up ahead of you, what specific things are teams looking for at that point, and what their available purse is,” he said. “Rather than worrying about such things, I am just focused on how I can keep my mind fresh and concentrate on my cricket.”

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