Star Indian player admits his mistake after losing the T20 series in New Zealand

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Vijay Shankar hopeful of winning games for India

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SportsCafe Desk


All-rounder Vijay Shankar has shown his confidence in winning more games for India in near future. Shankar, who was a part of the Indian team in the recently-concluded New Zealand tour, has also said that the team feels that Shankar is good enough to bat at the crucial No. 3 position.

It was just a matter of time when two months ago Vijay Shankar wasn’t in contention for a place in the Indian team and now things have changed for him after a great batting display during the New Zealand tour.  However, Hardik Pandya’s suspension meant that he was drafted in for the Australia ODIs last month. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder didn’t get any chances with the bat and moreover, he was unable to pick up a wicket in the two ODIs he played in Australia. But, Shankar batted at No. 3 in the T20Is to follow and after a nightmare during the Nidahas Trophy final where he faced a maiden 19th over from Mustifizur Rehman, only to make things worse for India before Dinesh Karthik pulled off a miraculous win. Shankar had a chance to show to the world that he can win games for India during the second T20I in New Zealand but failed to do so again as he was unable to bat through the innings.

"I actually expected a lot more from myself. I could have batted till the end and seen the team through in the second T20I against New Zealand, but I missed out. In that way, I was a bit disappointed. But otherwise, it was a good tour for me. I have learnt a lot and I am getting better. Mentally, I was in a very good space when I went there. I remember telling before leaving for Australia that I can win close matches with the bat. I had a chance to do that but I missed out. I have done it a couple of times for India A, but I need to show the world that I can do it a lot more for India.” Shankar told TOI.

Interestingly, Shankar batted at No. 3 during the recently-concluded tour where he was the fourth highest run getter while amassing runs in the three T20 matches, while Rohit Sharma showed the faith in him due to his brilliant 45 run knock which saved the Indian team from a deadly 18-4 situation in the fifth ODI.

"After the practice session just before the first T20I, Rohit Sharma told me that I might bat at No. 3. He just asked me to be ready. The team on the whole feels I am good enough to bat there. When I played in the fifth ODI where we were 18 for 4 and I scored that 45, that knock gave the team confidence that I can bat up the order and do well. If I didn't do well there, I would have anyways been out of the team. I had nothing to lose. I thought I should just enjoy the moment and play as many overs as possible. That ODI has changed things for me." told Shankar.

"I will keep working on all aspects of my game whenever I train with my coach (S Balaji) back home. I might not have bowled in the three T20s but the only man of the match I have got for India so far was for my bowling during the Nidahas Trophy last year. I can't start thinking that they are trying me as a specialist batsman. I need to keep working on my bowling. When the time comes for me to deliver, I should be able to do it."

Shankar didn't get to bowl in the T20Is but was bowling quite a bit well in the ODIs. Shankar was confident enough that if a time comes and his team demands from him he is ready to bowl his quota of 10 overs on any given day.

“During the recent series, my thinking was only to keep it really tight and bowl stump to stump. I was restrictive in my mindset with the ball. My biggest strength with the ball is to use the short ball effectively. I can bowl quicker than I bowled recently. It's just the matter of one game where I bowl a 10-over spell and give the team confidence that I can do it. I feel it is all about that. I can definitely bowl a touch quicker than I showed in New Zealand. It is just about confidence. If I can get a couple of wickets too, things will be different.” the 28-year-old said.

Speaking on his comparisons with all-rounder Hardik Pandya, Shankar said, “If we both play together and the team feels we will give more options with the ball, it will be good for us. But we can't think about all these things.”

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