India won the Nidahas Trophy 2018 by defeating Bangladesh in the finals of the tournament in a stunning fashion. Dinesh Karthik hit a six off the last ball, when five runs were needed off the last ball.
The whole match hinged on the last three overs, when the sides exchanged advantage. Mustafizur Rahman bowled a brilliant 18th over to a clueless Vijay Shankar, who played out four dot balls in the over. He managed a run off the 5th ball and Manish Pandey perished on the final ball, trying to up the ante and Shankar might have felt all the pressure of Pandey’s wicket at that moment.
"I'm still disappointed about the five misses (dot balls), disappointed that I couldn't finish it in those last two balls having struck a crucial four in the third ball of the last over. At that level you rarely get such a chance in your first knock. If I had hit a six, things would have been different. I was more disappointed with the fact that I had prepared hard for such a situation all along but couldn't deliver," Shankar said to PTI in an interview.
"It's a different thing to see Mustafizur in nets and face him in the match. On another day, I wouldn't have missed those balls in such a situation. I wouldn't attribute it to pressure factor but I think maybe it wasn't my day. Obviously, after missing the first three balls I was still thinking, I haven't connected three on the trot. In hindsight, I would say I should have tapped and run a single. Yet, I still scored a boundary in the final over. But the fact that I stood there till the end gave me a different experience. Having endured such an experience, I think it will keep me in good stead in the future," he added.
Thankfully for him, Dinesh Karthik played an innings of a lifetime and smashed two sixes and two fours off the 18th over bowled by Rubel Hossain to bring India back into the game. Soumya Sarkar bowled the last over with 12 runs needed to win.
“DK just told me one thing -- hold your shape (in cricketing parlance maintaining the balance in one’s stance) and hit a boundary. That ball from Soumya, I was trying to just put bat on ball,” he said.
Shankar missed a ball and hit a four, getting out on the penultimate ball, but in the process gave strike to Karthik, who smoked a match winning six off the last ball, when five runs were needed to win.
"Everyone patted me on the back and consoled me. Most of the players told me that I wasn't the first one to undergo such an experience and motivated me," added Shankar.
“My parents and close friends didn’t say anything as they knew what I was going through. But I get these text messages like ‘don’t worry about what’s being said on social media’, when I actually I want to move on. They perhaps think that’s the way to show sympathy but it may not work,” the all-rounder told PTI.
The Tamil Nadu native said, “I need to accept that these are things that can happen when you play for India. The same social media would have gone berserk had I won the match all by myself.It happened the opposite and I have to accept all the brickbats. That’s also a part of growing up.”
Vijay Shankar had a good start to the tournament, winning a Man of the match award in the second match of the tournament for his bowling.
“When everyone was rejoicing after the final, I was feeling very disheartened at how things panned out. It was an opportunity given to me to become a hero. I should have finished the match. Everyone in the team, including my captain (Rohit Sharma) and coach (Ravi Shastri), told me that it can even happen with the best and I shouldn’t feel bad,” he said.
Shankar’s next assignment will be playing for Delhi Daredevils in the IPL 2018 under the tutelage of Ricky Ponting.
He signed off by saying, “The selection thing is not my concern. The positive part is that IPL is starting in two weeks’ time and my focus is now to do well for Delhi Daredevils,” said Shankar, who would like to pick chief coach Ricky Ponting’s brains.”