When you talk about first class cricket, not many kids or young players of this generation know the names of players who have been playing since years with excellent domestic records. India is one of the very few countries where only once you reach International Cricket or IPL can you be recognized and we tend to forget there is a whole world of First Class Cricket which is ideally the breeding ground for the players to reach into the National team going unnoticed. The amount of hardwork, passion and time first class cricketers dedicate if not more is equivalent to any International cricketer.
Rakesh Shukla is one such domestic great who left for heavenly abode on 29th of June 2019 at the age of 72 yrs. Rakeshji in his playing days was considered to be the backbone of the Delhi’s team and why not when he had the ability to bamboozle the batsman with his spin while chip in with the bat with crucial cameos at the middle and lower middle order.
In a career spanning almost 17yrs, Rakeshji played 121 first class games where he scalped 295 wkts (7 5wkt hauls & One 10wkt haul) at a stunning bowling average of 24.53 and a miserly economy rate of 2.53 with his effective leg break googlies. What’s more he was a perfect utility player averaging close to 32.00 with the bat alongwith 17 half centuries, 6 hundreds and 3798 runs with the bat.
Rakesh Shukla made his first class debut in 1969/70 while he played his last first class match in 1985/86 season. He has also represented India in Tests where he took 2wkts in the only game he got to play vs Sri Lanka at Chennai in 1982. With the bat his finest moment came in the 1981-82 final against Karnataka when he and Rajesh Peter added an unbeaten 118 runs for the ninth wicket to steer Delhi past Karnataka’s first innings of 705 for a memorable triumph.