Shivakant Shukla is known in cricketing circles as the unlucky U-19 player. His batch of India Colts comprised many who later donned India colours with merit — Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Piyush Chawla and Robin Uthappa.
Though left to grind it out in domestic circuit, he hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Known to possess vast reserves of concentration, he played a couple of marathon innings for Uttar Pradesh in their charge to the final during the 2008-09 season.
But an indifferent season last year made him an uncertainty in the UP side and led him to switch allegiance to his employers, Railways, who needed to bolster their top order.
Railways have found his experience useful so far. After a heroic 98 against his former side in the previous match, which helped Railways earn full points, he scored 96 on Tuesday to help the hosts end Day One at 204/5 against Orissa.
Railways would be regretting throwing away the opportunity to encash the sound start Shukla had provided.
The left-handed opener scored his half-century in the opening session itself, but went into a shell along with Sanjay Bangar. The slow pace though didn’t stop them from moving to 148/2 before a couple of wickets rattled the side.
Brief scores: Rlys 204/5 ( Shukla 96; Samantray 2-32)