All-rounder Vijay Shankar has opened up on his desire to make a comeback into the Indian team, not on the back of his all-round abilities but by winning the faith of selectors. He also expressed disappointment over not getting picked despite performing well on the domestic circuit in the 2019/20 season.
Vijay Shankar hasn’t represented India since fracturing his toe after playing three matches in the 2019 World Cup. After overcoming many injuries since then, Vijay Shankar now stands a chance of returning to the national side, particularly with Hardik Pandya not fit to bowl. But Shankar made it clear he doesn’t want to play a deputising role.
“I don’t want to be in the team just because I am an all-rounder, someone who can bat and bowl. It should be more genuine, I should be in the team when people trust me for my abilities. I have said in the past about not liking comparisons. But if you really compare, I think I definitely have done better than most,” Vijay Shankar told India Today.
After making his ODI debut in January 2019, Vijay Shankar raised quite a storm when he was selected for the showpiece event in June. Yes, injuries limited his opportunities but he didn’t get another chance despite delivering the goods for Tamil Nadu later that year. And Vijay Shankar was disappointed with that snub.
“I can’t think of getting into the Indian side, those things are not in my hand. All I can do is prepare hard and try and do well in the matches that I play. I will try to push for that place again," he said.
“Definitely, whoever has played for that country would love to wear that jersey again. There is no doubt about that. I just felt when I had a decent run and I was not even considered after that, it was a little disappointing,” Vijay Shankar, who has scored 324 runs and picked 9 wickets from 12 ODIs and 9 T20Is, stated.
The 30-year-old was alluding to his exploits in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy of the 2019/20 season. Vijay Shankar amassed 384 runs at a staggering average of 54.85 in the 50-over format. In the T20s, he accumulated 210 runs at a strike-rate of 135.48 and picked 6 wickets at an economy of 5.58.
"Injuries have played a big part in my career" - Vijay Shankar
It is important to have a decent run of matches under one's belt to stay in a positive frame of mind. Unfortunately, Vijay Shankar has had a start-stop journey since last year. His IPL 2020 campaign was cut short by a hamstring injury which he aggravated during the curtailed 2020/21 domestic season earlier this year.
To add to his woes, just when the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) all-rounder started to get back into the grind, playing seven consecutive IPL 2021 games, the tournament was indefinitely suspended due to Covid-19 cases in the bio-bubbles. Throwing light on the mishaps, Vijay Shankar admitted the multiple injuries dented his self-confidence.
“Definitely injuries have played a big part in my career. I don’t see that as something which I can justify, saying I could have done better if I had been fit. I don’t think that is fair to say. Injuries are bound to happen for sportsmen. It’s about pushing myself harder every day. These things are part of my journey," he revealed.
“A lot of negativity creeps in when you’re injured. ‘Whether I will be able to come back? When will I play next?’. Every time, when I have a hamstring injury, there will be a small doubt in whatever you do – ‘What if I get that back again?’...The rehab, whatever the small things I do, I will give my best because that’s the only thing I have in my control,” Vijay Shankar elaborated.
India are set to travel to the UK on June 2 to play the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand and then stay back for another month to play a five-Test series against England. They are also scheduled to play Sri Lanka away in an ODI and T20I series in July.
While the core group of players will be plying their trade in English conditions, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is set to send a second-string squad to the island nation. Both Vijay Shankar and Hardik Pandya look certain to make the cut.