Indian all-rounder Vijay Shankar has insisted that he wouldn’t pressurize himself by thinking about his competitors and would rather focus on his game to stake a claim for a place in the national side, saying he doesn’t want to be a mere survivor but someone who can perform for a long time.
The 29-year old made his India debut in 2018 in the shortest format of the game and only a year after with just 10 ODIs, had managed to secure a birth in India’s 2019 World Cup squad but an ankle injury disrupted his campaign midway.
Over the 2 years, the Tamil Nadu lad has not done anything significant in the opportunities he received with the Indian cricket team, as the right-hander scored 223 runs in 12 ODIs and 101 runs in 9 T20Is while scalped just 4 and 5 respectively in the format.
Now, with Hardik Pandya making a comeback into the side, Shankar finds himself in a tough spot, as the star is considered dynamic all-rounder is considered as India’s preferred all-rounder in the white-ball format, but the latter insisted that he is not going to lose sleep over thinking about the competitors.
Shankar said: “If it starts affecting me (that Hardik is the No 1 choice) then I will lose out on games that I have with me. If I focus on the games that I have and have match-winning performances, then my name will be there in the circuit (reckoning). If I perform, people will talk about me and if some opportunity arises, I will be getting into the Indian side. So, I can’t think about what other players are doing.”
The all-rounder further added, “My dream is not just to get there and be a mere survivor. Only if I excel can I prolong my international career. It’s important for us to be at our best when we go to the international level. Over the years, if you see, I have batted in all middle-order slots and adapted to the needs of the team.
However, when people ask me what my goal is, I tell them, for that I need to have a fixed batting position. If I bat at Number 3 or 4, then only can I think about all these goals. If I am always shifting my batting position, then I will only end up getting those 30s and 40s.”
Reflecting back at his 2019 World Cup campaign, where he played three matches, Shankar admitted that he could have done better with the chances he got in the ICC event.
He further said, “I missed out on two opportunities and one was against Afghanistan (he scored 29). Against the West Indies, I got good delivery. Before that I had successive 40 plus scores against New Zealand in a tough game and against Australia. Had I converted even one start into a big knock, it would have been a different story,”
On training amid during the lockdown, Vijay, who has an astroturf wicket on the rooftop of his residence, said: “Usually, I call two or three people who come and bowl or give throwdowns. Due to the lockdown, I wasn’t able to call anyone so I just did my exercises. I hope I can now start training.”
He is also supporting Tamil Nadu’s physically challenged cricket team, where most of the players are daily wage earners during this COVID-19 lockdown.
Shankar signed off by saying, “I have been the players for the last three years, and this time during the lockdown, I helped them with some money so that they don’t go hungry. Earlier, I had sponsored the TN physically challenged team with their jerseys and one of them (Sachin Shiva) represented the national team for physically challenged. The best gift was ‘thank you’ messages from some of them.”
(With PTI Inputs)