Prolific batsman Sheldon Jackson, who played a pivotal role in Saurashtra’s maiden Ranji Trophy triumph in the season gone by, will compete for Puducherry in the domestic circuit this year, a decision which the cricketer said was “not easy”.

The right-hander scored 809 runs in the 2019-20 season in 10 matches (18 innings) at an average of 50.56.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions that I had to make and it’s not been easy for me but I feel its the right time for me to move on and play as a professional in some other team or state,” Jackson stated in a release issued by Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA).

Jackson made his debut for Saurashtra in 2011 and scored 5634 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 49.42, including 19 hundreds and 27 half-centuries.

“The journey so far has been fantastic and I am thankful to everyone at Saurashtra Cricket Association for standing by my side in my good and bad times,” the 33-year-old was quoted as saying.

Former Test bowler Pankaj Singh has also returned to Puducherry after missing the last season due to injury while Paras Dogra, another prolific scorer in domestic cricket, has been retained as the third guest player, Cricket Association of Pondicherry Secretary V Chandran said.

The CAP Secretary welcomed Jackson and praised his prolific run for Saurashtra.

“Signed contracts with Sheldon Jackson, Paras Dogra and Pankaj Singh for 2020-21 season as guest players. All three have established themselves as top performers for a long period of time in Ranji Trophy,” the CAP official said.

“We opted for Jackson as he is a great batter and has done well in Ranji Trophy on a consistent basis and helped Saurashtra win the title with his superb batting,” he added.

Dogra, a heavy scorer for Himachal Pradesh, amassed 967 runs from nine matches at an average of 80.58 with four hundreds in the 2019-20 season.

Former India and Mumbai bowler Aavishkar Salvi was recently appointed coach of the Puducherry team.