Tamil Nadu’s Vijay Shankar Considering Changing State Team With Eye on India Comeback

All-rounder Vijay Shankar, who represented India at the 2019 World Cup but fell out of favour soon after, said he needs chances to bat up the order for Tamil Nadu and may not rule out switching to a different state team for that as he eyes return to the Indian team.

“I did well in the limited opportunities I got for India. Even in the last T20 International series during the tour of New Zealand, I got some good scores while batting at No. 3 and 4,” Vijay told IANS.

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He scored 27 and 43 at No. 3 and 14 while batting at No. 4.

Shankar said he was upset after he was dropped even from the India A side -– prior to last year’s lockdown -– within a few months of playing the World Cup. He was picked only as a replacement for fellow pace bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the A side.

“As a cricketer, it was disappointing to get dropped from India A [for the tour of New Zealand early 2020] and get picked only as replacement,” he said.

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“It is not that I had performed badly. I did well. My batting position was never certain. I batted at different places. In 12 ODIs, I got to bat eight-nine times and on five of those occasions I went in with the asking rate being too high. I know that in cricket you have to be good enough to perform at any stage. But sometimes it doesn’t come off or gets difficult,” he added.

Shankar was picked ahead of Ambati Rayudu in the 2019 World Cup leading to controversy, as well as outburst from the senior Andhra batsman who plays for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. The then chief selector MSK Prasad said Shankar was picked since he was a 3D (3-dimensional) player.

In the absence of Pandya the bowler there have been suggestions that the TN pace bowling all-rounder should be drafted back into the squad.

However, in recent times, Shankar batting has been a bit below par for both his state team Tamil Nadu in domestic tournaments as well as SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League. He played seven matches each in 2020 and 2021, but aggregated only 97 and 58 runs respectively. He scored 69 in two Ranji games.

“I don’t compare myself with others. I have been bowling well for my franchise. But I have not had very good time with the bat. Last season in IPL, out of five innings, I walked in four times with team chasing 10 or 12 an over. It is a challenge for anyone to take on the bowlers from the start.”

Shankar said that he got picked into India reckoning, both for A and senior sides, on the basis of his performances with the bat when he walked in at No. 5.

“I got into India reckoning after I performed with the bat at No. 5, I want to be in the game all the time. I have thought about changing my state team so that I can get to bat at either No. 4 or No. 5. But let us see. I hope Tamil Nadu pushes me up the order,” added Shankar.

A few injuries over the years have affected his career.

“I am working on my fitness. I did well with the ball recently in IPL. I need to keep pushing myself. I have to keep my fitness level high. The challenge is to keep pushing.”

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