Opinion: Why selectors must find a place for Vijay Shankar in India’s World Cup squad
- It's essential to have a back-up for Hardik Pandya and India may even prefer to have the option of having both in the XI on some grounds.
With the 2019 ICC World Cup barely a few months away, speculation is rife regarding the composition of the squad. Unfortunately, there can only be fifteen members, and hence there is bound to be some disappointment in terms of some deserving players missing out.
However, one player who was not in the original scheme of things, but came to the squad in recent times only due to the absence of the original choice should now be in serious contention to be on that flight to London.
The player we are talking about here is Vijay Shankar. Thanks to the unfortunate Koffee with Karan fiasco, the designated pace-bowling all-rounder in the Indian squad, Hardik Pandya, had to miss international cricket for a while.
That forced the selectors to look at a possible replacement. They had two probable contenders to choose from – Shivam Dube and Vijay Shankar. They prioritized experience over potential, and chose Vijay Shankar.
Shankar may not have lit up the scene with his performances, but during his stint in New Zealand, he has done enough to dispel some of the doubts about his ability in the aftermath of the Nidahas trophy final performance. He has bowled tidy spells in conditions not dis-similar to those one is likely to encounter in England during the World Cup.
He has always been a very good fielder in the outfield. But one area where a marked difference was clearly visible was his batting. He seems to have developed a lot as a batsman. Unlike Hardik Pandya, he seems capable of slotting in the higher middle order in the Indian batting line up, if need be.
His stint with India A seems to have done him a world of good. It is essential for India to have a back-up for Hardik Pandya and in certain conditions, India may even prefer to have the option of going with both pace-bowling all-rounders.
This is all the more reason why the Indian selectors must seriously consider drafting in Vijay Shankar in the fifteen-member Indian squad for the upcoming World Cup.