ICC World Cup 2019: Who should India pick for the squad - Hardik Pandya or Vijay Shankar?
Before the start of the series, India had various questions to be answered in regard to the selection of the players for the World Cup. The series has now come to an end and as per the skipper, India have ticked all the boxes ahead of the mega event.
However, one question that keeps popping in our mind is: has Vijay Shankar made it to the squad for the World Cup?
Can India include both Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar in the World Cup squad? Ashish Nehra definitely feels so. "Hardik Pandya, you look at him as your third pacer if needed. Vijay Shankar is someone who can bat at No. 3, 4, 5, 6. He is someone who can hit big sixes. We have seen him in the IPL as well, he can hit big against spinners and fast bowlers. They both are completely different players and both can be part of the World Cup squad, if Shankar keeps performing," Nehra told News 18.
Just before the start of the India-Australia series, Pandya got ruled out from both the T20 and ODI series owing to his lower back stiffness, allowing Shankar get more chances and make a telling impression in the series.
The 28-year-old all-rounder grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Shankar got his first chance to bat in the second ODI, where he scored 46 runs off 41 deliveries, including five fours and one six, in the process helping his side post 250 in the first innings. He also played a decent 32-run knock at a strike rate of 106.67 in the third ODI.
In the fourth ODI, Shankar showed once again that he has the ability to switch gears right from the start of his innings, playing at a strike rate of 173.33. He scored a great cameo of 26 runs off just 15 deliveries to take the side’s total to 358/9 in 50 overs.
Shankar had another opportunity in the fifth ODI to play a big innings and win the final for the team and become a hero. However, in a bid to hit consecutive sixes off Adam Zampa, he got out on 16, mistiming the ball and getting caught at mid-on.
Looking at his overall performance, Shankar has shown how handy he is with the bat. But considering his numbers with the ball, India certainly can’t look at him as the third bowler. Shankar’s bowling has a lot of room for improvement and for now, Virat Kohli can only draft him in as a batsman who can give his team 3-4 overs, at most.
Pandya on the other hand has got the ability to strike big, and the heart to give his team the full quota of 10 overs while also picking wickets. In the race for the all-rounder’s position in the XI, Pandya is certainly a notch above than Shankar.
Perhaps the management won’t draft Shankar in the XI, but there is an outside chance that he might be on the flight to England as a second all-rounder in the squad.
What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.