Vijay Shankar hasn’t been at his best over the past couple of years, with inconsistencies and injuries causing him to disappear from Team India’s set-up. The all-rounder, who is aware of what he needs to do to get his career back on track, revealed he is open to switching his state team to get more opportunities with the bat.
The 30-year-old currently plies his trade for Tamil Nadu in domestic cricket, but he has found opportunities hard to come by in recent tournaments. Often coming in to bat down the order, Vijay Shankar feels he needs a consistent run at the top-order to prove his mettle.
He spoke to IANS about his prospects, with Vijay Shankar outlining his target to bat at No.4 or 5 for Tamil Nadu.
“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’s see. I hope Tamil Nadu pushes me up the order,” revealed Shankar.
His struggles aren’t just restricted to domestic cricket. Vijay Shankar has failed to make a mark in the IPL, scoring just 155 runs in 14 games for SRH over the past two seasons. With a strike rate of under 115 in IPL 2020 and 2021, the 30-year-old has often been trolled for his slow batting. The all-rounder, who admitted he hasn’t performed with the bat, however, was quick to point out how external circumstances haven’t been in his favor.
“I don’t compare myself with others. I have been bowling well for my franchise. But I have not had a very good time with the bat. Last season in the IPL, out of five innings, I walked in four times with the team chasing 10 or 12 an over. It is a challenge for anyone to take on the bowlers from the start,” explained Shankar.
“I did well in the limited opportunities I got for India” – Vijay Shankar
There is a dearth of seam-bowling all-rounders in Team India, with the shortage exacerbated by Hardik Pandya’s inability to bowl consistently. After Vijay Shankar was surprisingly picked for India’s 2019 World Cup squad, many touted him to fill the seam-bowling all-rounder’s position in the Indian team.
But the 30-year-old failed in that role, with injuries and poor form working against him. With an average of 31.85 in ODIs and 25.25 in T20Is, along with nine wickets in 21 white-ball games for India, Vijay Shankar’s numbers aren’t too bad.
“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. 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 or 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,” Shankar concluded.
If Vijay Shankar can prove his worth as an all-rounder, he can certainly return to India’s white-ball setup. He will then compete with Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur for the seam-bowling all-rounder’s position in the Indian team.