From being a part of India’s World Cup squad in 2019 to not being considered for any format, all-rounder Vijay Shankar’s hasn’t had the best of times over the last few years.
After being picked for the World Cup for his ‘three-dimensional skills’ in former chief selector MSK Prasad’s words, Shankar soon found himself to be the hot topic on social media. Even the player whose spot he took, Ambati Rayudu wrote, "Just Ordered a new set of 3D glasses to watch the world cup" with reference to his omission.
Two years on and Shankar still can’t seem to shrug off the ‘3-D’ tag entirely. His below-par returns in the Indian T20 League as well as domestic cricket hasn’t helped his cause either.
“I have no connection to that (3-D tag),” Shankar said in an interaction with News18.
“They gave me a tag randomly and made it viral. But after that (Rayudu) tweet, I played three games for India (in the World Cup) and did decently. I didn’t do anything bad. Even in the Indian T20 League, my batting orders have been different. A lot of people compare me to Rayudu, but the batting orders and conditions we play in are different.
“We talk well when we meet. There’s no personal issue between us. It just so happened that his tweet became viral. I definitely don’t have any grudge against Rayudu.”
Be it for Team Hyderabad in the Indian T20 League or Tamil Nadu in domestic cricket, Shankar has mostly batted at No. 5 or No. 6, meaning that he gets very little time to settle in and needs to add runs as quickly as he can.
That was also the case for the all-rounder during his limited opportunities with the national team and while likening himself to star all-rounders Jacques Kallis and Shane Watson, Shankar insisted that he should be given a chance to bat higher up the order.
“If I have to score runs, I need to spend more time on the crease. So I’m not saying I want to open the batting. Just saying, even if I bat at No. 4 or 5, let it be one slot at least for domestic. And then if I don’t score runs, drop me, I’m okay. That’s what I have missed out in the last two years,” the 30-year-old stated.
“I’m an all-rounder, but I’m known for my batting. So just because I’m an all-rounder, it shouldn’t be like I should bat only at No. 6 or 7. I can also be someone like Jacques Kallis or Shane Watson. They open the innings or bat at No. 3 and bowl. It’s not a compulsion that an all-rounder has to bat at No. 6-7. If I can score runs at the top, and pick wickets, it’s good for the team too, right?,” he added.
Shankar last represented India in June 2019. The all-rounder has played 12 ODIs and nine T20Is for the Men in Blue.
Featured photo: AFP / Sajjad Hussain