INDIAN Premier League (IPL) star Abhishek Jhunjhunwala is targeting East Anglian Premier League (EAPL) glory after inspiring Bury St Edmunds to their second consecutive victory on Saturday.
The diminutive Indian all-rounder swapped the vociferous surroundings of a 55,000-capacity crowd of the Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium, where he plies his trade for the Deccan Chargers in the IPL, for the tranquil surrounds of Saffron Walden this week to make his EAPL debut.
After ripping through the hosts’ batting order to take three wickets, Jhunjhunwala, who has a First Class century to his name, then demonstrated his talent with the bat, remaining on 70no while others struggled opposite to guide Bury to their second victory in as many weeks.
The 29-year-old, who has also enjoyed stints in the IPL with Pune Warriors India and the Rajasthan Royals, where he featured alongside Aussie spin legend Shane Warne, revealed how the major coup for Bury came about and reflected on his first taste of the EAPL, in which he believes his new club can challenge for glory.
“Because my wife is English we come over here every few months,” he said. “I was looking to play cricket at a decent level and find a good club, and luckily my agent recommended Bury.
“I have played in front of 80,000 people in the IPL, but at the end of the day I’m doing the same job here as I am out there.
“It is always good to be playing cricket and to me it doesn’t really matter where.
“It was great to contribute to my new team and I’m here to help the club push on and move up the league.
“They have a good team and I think we can finish in the top three, if not top two, that is definitely possible. I will be getting involved all I can to help them achieve that.”
While playing together for the Royals, Warne picked out Jhunjhunwala as a future Indian player, calling him ‘a great player with a lot of talent’ and ‘a real leader among the group’.
The off-spinner spoke of his time with one of the real legends of the sport and indicated he hoped to get the opportunity to pass on his wisdom to the Victory Ground outfit’s younger players.
“Playing with Shane Warne has definitely been a highlight in my career,” he said. “He is a legend in the world of cricket and I have been fortunate enough to rub shoulders with him and other world-class players and learn a lot along the way.
“I would definitely like to help out with the youth coaching here and share whatever I can with them to help their development. There are a few things I can help with and I would welcome the opportunity to pass on whatever I can.”
n Jhunjhunwala will be in the squad tomorrow as they look for a third straight win away to Copdock and Old Ipswichians (11am), while Suffolk travel to Hertfordshire on Sunday (11am) in the Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division.