Vijay Shankar, in a chat with SportsCafe, has stated that the relaxed atmosphere in the Delhi Daredevils camp made the job easier for the players. Shankar has also added that he doesn’t have any premeditated plans for the India A tour to England and only wants to learn and improve his game.
The latest edition of the Indian Premier League may not have been one to remember for Delhi Daredevils, but for all the Indian cricket fans, the team provided a sneak-peak to the country's future. While Rishabh Pant let his bat do all the talking by topping the list of highest run-getters at the end of the league stage, Shreyas Iyer successfully managed to take over the reins from Gautam Gambhir and helped the Daredevils recover from the slump they found themselves in at the start of the tournament.
Apart from the trio of Pant, Iyer, and Prithvi Shaw, if there was one player who proved to be worth every penny, it was Vijay Shankar, the same guy who left India at the brink of defeat in the Nidahas Trophy final. The night was tough for Shankar, who couldn’t get the ball to touch the sweet spot of the bat despite repeated trying and eventually, it took a gargantuan effort by Dinesh Karthik to take the team over the line and thus saving the team from a lot of flak from the fans.
However, what Shankar did was keep confidence in his abilities alive and managed to get rid of the nightmare of that evening to become one consistent performer for the Delhi-based franchise. He eventually ended up with 212 runs at an average of over 53 and a strike rate close to 145 in just 11 innings. So, what brought about the change? It was the intention to deliver as per the best of his potential and the trust of the management.
“I was thinking too much about the past and whatever had happened during the Nidahas Trophy final. But once the IPL started, I decided to stop overthinking and focus on my training and IPL preparation, which actually helped me come out of that difficult situation,” Shankar told SportsCafe over the phone from New Delhi.
“After such a start in that match, my only aim was to somehow take the team over the line. I couldn’t do that and although we won that night, that thoughts kept on striking my head for some days. My headspace was not good after the win. But my training kept me occupied and once I joined my new IPL team, it was alright by then.
“Personally, It was very good for me to spend time with Ricky Ponting and Gautam Gambhir. Most importantly, they gave us our individual space to perform well and allowed us to experiment with our game. The dressing room was a very atmosphere because they exactly know what is important for a cricketer to succeed,” the Tamil Nadu all-rounder added.
In the IPL, he couldn’t get more chances in the beginning, but once Gambhir stepped down from the role it created one space in the batting order and Shankar stepped in beautifully to fill the role. To go with that, he donned the role of the finisher and remained unbeaten as many as eight times, which he attributes to the changing mindset that he developed during his stint at the Daredevils camp.
“I didn’t even start well in the IPL as in I had very limited opportunities in batting. All I was focusing on were to prepare for the best and when the opportunities would come along, I could deliver my best. I trained really hard for that,” Shankar said with a sense of satisfaction in his tone.
As of now, he will fly to London with
“I don’t actually have premeditated plans for this England tour. All I want to do is perform well and enjoy my time on the field. If I can learn, and improve, then indeed, it will keep me in good stead for the upcoming trips,” he concluded.