Rahul Sharma’s career may have been in jeopardy after being recently charged with drug abuse by Mumbai Police, who busted a rave party in Juhu during the last Indian Premier League (IPL), but things are looking up now. Sharma’s Pune Warriors India teammate Wayne Parnell of South Africa has also been named in the charge sheet.
The drug episode has been the toughest phase for the 26-year-old leggie. However, the Punjab lad said he followed his mother’s advice to tackle the situation and continue with his cricket. “My mother is my inspiration. She has been a guiding force all my life. She made me become more inclined towards religious activities (after the drug incident). That has helped me shut out all the negativity around and also keep my focus on cricket. I often visit temples and the aim is to become a good human being,” Sharma told SUNDAY MiD DAY.
Apparently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hasn’t taken any harsh measures against Sharma despite being found positive in the drug case. After the episode, he was immediately selected for the India ‘A’ tours to West Indies and New Zealand last year. In between those ‘A’ tours, Sharma also represented Team India in an ODI in Sri Lanka.
Ask him about his teammates’ reaction after the incident, and he said: “There has been no change in anybody’s behaviour towards me be it with the Indian team, the (India) ‘A’ team or Punjab team. I get congratulatory messages whenever I do well. I will be joining my Pune teammates in a few days. I am excited to be a part of it (IPL).”
So, will he be more alert this time while attending parties during the IPL? “I have always been very alert about where I am. In that (Juhu rave party) case, I was at the wrong place and at the wrong time,” said Sharma.
Though Sharma only played five Ranji Trophy league games for Punjab in the last season, he has been an integral part of the one-day and T20 set up for his state.
On Saturday, he claimed his career’s maiden hat-trick when he dismissed Uttar Pradesh’s Piyush Chawla (29), Umang Sharma (2) and Amit Mishra (0) to help Punjab storm into the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 final with a 51-run win in Indore.
“It is extremely pleasing to perform in a pressure match. It was a crucial moment when I got it (the hat-trick). This is the first time I have experienced taking three wickets in a row. It is a thrilling experience. “I have worked very hard throughout the season. The IPL is just a few days away and this performance will surely boost my confidence,” he signed off.