Chennai’s Vijay Shankar certain to pack his bags for WC

Nagpur: The quiet neighbourhood of Madipakkam went up in celebrations last night as its proud son Vijay Shankar ensured victory for India against Aussies in the second ODI against Australia in Nagpur. Captain Kohli handed the ball to Shankar when Australia needed 11 runs from the last over and India required two wickets for a win.

Vijay Shankar dismissed Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa in three balls, delivering when it mattered. He has certainly made a case for himself with this performance to make the squad for the World Cup.

Speaking to News Today, Kannan, a resident of the area said, “It is a moment to cherish for us. Vijay Shankar has proved that he can handle pressure. He batted with confidence until a freak run out ended his innings. He has all shots in his kitty. The all-rounder in him came to the forefront when he took those two wickets when it mattered and made sure India wins. He must be included in Indian squad for the World Cup.”

However, Vijay Shankar says, “I have said previously also that I never think about the selection or World Cup thing because it’s a long way off from now. Every game is very important. I just look to give my best and win a game for the team.”

The Tamilnadu all-rounder was criticised for not rotating strike in the Nidhahas Trophy last year. However he seems to have overcome all odds and silenced his critics with his bat and yesterday with the ball. He says, “To be honest the Nidahas Trophy has taught me too many things. Actually, I learnt to how to stay neutral after that. Be it high or low, it doesn’t matter. I need to stay calm and neutral all the time.”

On bowling the crucial last over, Vijay Shankar says, “I was just telling (myself) after the 43rd-44th over, I am going to bowl anytime. Maybe the last over and I should be ready to defend a total of 10 runs or 15 runs. So, I was mentally prepared for that.”

“After the 48th over, Bumrah came up to me and said the ball is reversing a bit. He told me that I need to hit the right length on this wicket, where I give myself a chance to hit the stumps. When he said that, I was clear mentally that the only way to defend those runs is by picking wickets and if I can bowl straighter, (I’ll) give myself a chance to take wickets,” he said adding that he only bowled the last over for his club side before this.

NT Bureau