Consecutive failures in the last two seasons had almost sealed the fate of Shivakant Shukla in Uttar Pradesh until he was asked to join his official side Railways.
This has infused a new energy to his career. After scoring 86 to help clinch the first innings lead against defending champions Rajasthan in the last match, the opener hit a superb 98 against his home team UP in the Elite Group A Ranji Trophy tie on Tuesday.
He along with Nittin Bille teased the UP bowlers on the green top with a 217-run partnership for the second wicket. Bille struck an aggressive 123, his first century of the season. However, Shukla missed out, edging a flashy drive off leggie Piyush Chawla to be caught by rival skipper RP Singh at slip.
Railways were 221 for one at tea but Shukla's departure led to a collapse. Brief scores: Railways 282/5 (S Shukla 98, N Bille 123, B Kumar 2-50, P Chawla 2-81) v UP