Vijay Shankar, who made his international debut for India in 2018, has revealed that he’s been doing everything he can to earn a Test call-up and added that his red-ball ambitions are alive and well. The all-rounder also expressed his displeasure at being under-utilized as a bowler, by Tamil Nadu.
A calm-headed figure who inspires confidence with the bat and can contribute overs with the ball, Vijay Shankar’s presence on the Indian domestic circuit has grown in stature over the past couple of years and the Tamil Nadu man has managed to stay in the radar of the national selectors through his consistent performances. Despite having played 21 limited-over games for India, Shankar, who boasts a first-class batting average over 44, is widely regarded by many as a better fit for Test cricket and he almost made his Test debut in 2017, after being called up for the Nagpur Test against Sri Lanka.
Speaking to New Indian Express, Shankar, who has played 45 first-class matches for Tamil Nadu revealed that he’s been trying his best to earn a Test cap.
“I have been working on all aspects of the game and formats. I have been doing well consistently for India A, so all that actually gave me this call-up. If I had my Test debut, it would have been memorable but nothing’s over. I just keep trying to do my best to get my Test cap,” Shankar told Indian Express.
Despite considering himself as an all-rounder, be it by the national team or the state side, the 29-year-old has primarily been used as a specialist batsman and the Tamil Nadu man expressed his disappointment over his bowling ability being under-utilized. The all-rounder also added that he felt that he could have become a better bowler had he bowled more in his career.
“Definitely feel bad for that because I have always been the 4th or 5th or 6th bowler for Tamil Nadu which has always been a tough thing for me. I have learnt to come out of it. I have learnt to handle those situations.
“Whenever I get the ball, I should be ready to do well. I got into that mode a little later. If you ask me, as a cricketer it is very important to keep doing things regularly for them to be at their best. Maybe if I had bowled more, I would have been a better bowler.”
Making his World Cup debut against Pakistan at Old Trafford in 2019, Shankar, after being summoned to bowl by the captain due to injury to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, struck on his very first ball, and the all-rounder branded that moment ‘special’. The Tamil Nadu man revealed that his primary focus was just to bowl in the right areas, which he did.
“Yeah, that as well as making my WC debut against Pakistan. (was special). It (the wicket) happened very quickly. The captain might sometimes tell you in advance but sometimes a bowler might get injured and you should be ready. That’s what happened. I was standing at point and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) got injured and they just called me up. All I was thinking was ‘just bowl in the right areas’.”