Known to be a fighter on the cricket field, former India cricketer-turned-Trinamool Congress candidate Laxmi Ratan Shukla is banking on the performance of the Mamata Banerjee government to win his maiden foray on to the political pitch.
"Performance and hard work help you win matches. In politics, too, you win elections on the basis of hard work. The performance, the development work (of TMC government) in the last five years, will help us win the elections," former Bengal captain Shukla said.
The all-rounder, who announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in December, said it was the 'fighting spirit' of Trinamool Congress supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that had attracted him to the party.
"I was attracted by the way Didi used to fight against all odds and her zeal to ensure all-round development of Bengal. I always wanted to work for the people of Bengal and felt TMC is the ideal platform for that," he said.
In the fray for the Howrah North Assembly seat, Shukla is pitted against actor-turned-politician Roopa Ganguly of BJP and Congress's Santosh Pathak, who has the support of the Left Front.
Asked about his opponents, Shukla, who represented India in the Under-19 World Cup in 1998 and three ODIs the year after that, said, "I am not at all bothered about them as I am sure of my victory."
Ten years down the line, he said, he would like to be known rather as a "people's man" than a cricketer or a politician.
"A person who is always there to help people in their time of distress," said Shukla, whose domestic career for Bengal lasted around 18 years.
Asked if he finds politics more difficult than cricket, he said, "It is a different ball game. But both need performance and hard work for victory."
Does the entry into the political field mean he now has little time to follow cricket? "I may be busy, but I don't miss a chance to catch up on the World T20 tournament," Shukla said.