Will Hardik Pandya's injury prove costly for him?
After his heroics in the second ODI against Australia, Vijay Shankar is widely believed to have cemented his spot in the Indian squad for World Cup 2019. Though Virat Kohli won the man of the match award, it was Shankar who won the fans' hearts by showing them that he is capable of shining brightly even at the international level.
Shankar played a good knock with the bat, and then with the ball proved his worth again. He showed both composure and aggressiveness in his 46-run innings before getting run out in the most unfortunate manner possible.
When he came out to bowl, he was quite expensive in his first over which yielded 13 runs, and didn't bowl again until the final over. In that one he had to defend 11 runs or pick 2 wickets to take his team to victory.
Many players looking to make a mark in international cricket might have shrunk from the challenge of bowling the last over to a dangerous Marcus Stoinis. But for Shankar it was important to mark his place in the World Cup squad and more importantly, to help his team achieve their 500th victory in ODIs.
Despite not having bowled a good first over, Shankar accounted for Stoinis on the very first ball of his new spell. And then two balls later he took another wicket, which prompted roars from all around the stadium as India had grabbed a victory from the jaws of defeat.
Talking about Hardik Pandya, who had lost a bit respect in the eyes the fans after his controversial comments on the show 'Koffee With Karan', his injury couldn't have come at a worse time. Pandya will now get no more ODI games ahead of the World Cup, and the way Shankar is performing in both department, Pandya will have a tough time keeping his place in the XI.
He is not the only one with a golden arm anymore; there's another player who can provide the X-factor to the team now..
Pandya needs a quick recovery and a strong IPL to get back his form. He needs to do everything in his power to upstage Shankar over the next couple of months, failing which Shankar could be preferred over him in the playing XI at the World Cup.
Judging from the way Shankar is playing right now, that will be easier said than done.