Before the start of the 2018 IPL, Indian all-rounder Vijay Shankar was receiving criticism from all quarters after his maiden international innings against Bangladesh in the Nidahas Trophy final.
But, he managed to put that behind him as he showed some glimpses of what he is capable of in the ongoing 2018 IPL season in which he scored 212 runs in 11 innings at an average of 53 and a strike-rate of 144 after starting the season on a slow note.
He played a handful of crucial innings for his team towards the end of the league stage but unfortunately, they were not enough to help his side qualify for the playoffs.
Sportskeeda caught up with Vijay in an exclusive chat and discussed a host of issues. Here are the excerpts.
Were you happy with how things panned out in the 2018 IPL?
The last two months were a bit mixed for me. When I started off, I didn't get enough time in the middle. It was very disappointing for me at that time. I see myself as someone who can win matches for the team. But, I couldn't do that this season. It is very important for a cricketer to come out from such hard times. Not performing well initially and to finish the tournament in the way I did, it was very satisfying and personally, this is a good thing for me.
You were promoted up the order as the season progressed. Whose decision was that?
It was the decision of the team management. I generally don't talk about all these things to anyone because my only motive is to create an impact irrespective of where I play. I don't think I can go and tell things to anyone.
How was it to work with a legend like Ricky Ponting?
It was a very good experience. He gave us full freedom to do whatever we wanted to. I completely enjoyed playing under him.
How was it to do well with the bat (unbeaten 54 in a losing cause and an unbeaten 36 in a winning cause) against your former team Chennai Super Kings?
The 36 not out I scored was more important and satisfying than the 54 as it came in a winning cause. When I walked out to bat, we had lost all our frontline batsmen and it was left to me and Harshal Patel to take the team to a respectable position. They asked me to bat along for an extra couple of overs because it provided us with the cushion of having a batsman batting in the middle.
We had the chance to maximise the score at that time. I was enjoying the role I was performing in the latter stages. I might have started on a cautious note but I was able to adapt to different situations. If you see, we lost wickets when I went to bat in the last three innings. I was just looking to stay at the crease, keep pushing myself till the last two overs and then take on the bowlers. In that way, it was very satisfying for me because I was able to do what my team wanted from me at that time.
On not getting to bowl much...
I would have loved to bowl a lot in the IPL. In the Nidahas Trophy that took place before the IPL, I got to bat just once while I bowled in every innings and I was very confident of doing well with the ball in the IPL. At the end of the day, it was very disappointing for me to go out there and not bowl. I am the kind of guy who likes to take the blame rather than putting it on others. Whenever I got an opportunity, I should have done better than what I managed to do. Maybe if I had bowled a little better when I got the chance, I would have bowled a few more overs.
In a few days' time, you will be busy with your preparations for the tour of England for the first time. Any expectations ahead of the series?
I don't have any expectations. But I am very excited to play in those conditions. I learnt a lot when I went to South Africa in the past. Playing in such conditions will be a great learning experience for me. Whoever I spoke to, they said that it is only about the weather, not about the nature of the wicket or anything else. The weather keeps changing and we have to adapt to different conditions and play accordingly. It will be a huge challenge and at the same time, it will be a big learning curve for me.