Tamil Nadu cricketer Vijay Shankar has clarified that he doesn't want to compare himself with Hardik Pandya or any other player, as he believes every player has a special talent. The all-rounder, who is seen as a backup for Pandya, was also excited after his call-up for the upcoming Nidahas Trophy.
Before Indian Premier League broke into the scene to become a crucial springboard for players to showcase their talent and get into the national side, domestic cricket was the biggest parameter to judge players' abilities. And after numerous former players have moved to uphold the significance of the domestic tournaments amidst IPL’s blinding shine, the board has decided to take the old route and select players based on their domestic displays for the next series.
Consequently, all-rounders like Washington Sundar and Shankar have been included in India’s 15-man squad for the Nidahas Trophy next month after they impressed in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy.
India skipper Virat Kohli had already stated that the team management wanted to develop 27-year-old Shankar as back-up for Pandya and the Tamil Nadu player’ maiden national T20 call-up in the absence of Pandya would be a huge opportunity for him to cement his position. However, Shankar has clarified that he doesn’t compare himself with Pandya and his sole focus would be on himself.
"I never compare myself to anyone and personally I don't believe in that. Every cricketer is special in his own way. As a cricketer, I should try to better myself in every match. I'm excited to be part of the T20 side and I hope to express myself as and when I get an opportunity," Shankar told TOI.
In the upcoming T20 tri-nation series, six regular players of the side were rested, which includes Kohli, Pandya, MS Dhoni, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. Among the many fresh faces to don the jersey under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma, Shankar will have all eyes on him after his terrific displays in the domestic circuit. Training with coach S Balaji on specific drills to improve his game, Shankar has been impressive in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy
"I have focussed more on ball-striking abilities. I worked on certain drills with my coach Balaji to increase my hitting range. I'm glad that I have been amongst runs in the domestic competition in the shorter formats recently which gives me a lot of confidence heading into this series," Shankar added.