TNPL 2019: Recovering Vijay Shankar still has a lot to offer Super Gillies
Natham, Dindigul, July 18: India all-rounder Vijay Shankar is upbeat about his team Chepauk Super Gillies coming good in the fourth Sankar Cement Tamil Nadu Twenty20 Premier League beginning at the NPR College ground here on Friday.
Shankar, who was supposed to captain CSG in the season will miss the action as he recuperates from a toe injury. Despite the injury, he has been an active participant in team meetings and believes they can replicate their performance of 2017 when they went on to win the title.
In his absence, CSG will be led by opening batsman Kaushik Gandhi, who was traded from Tuti Patriots this season. Kaushik is among the top run-getters of the league scoring 902 runs and is placed second behind Dindigul Dragons’ Narayanan Jagadeesan (904 runs).
“We have a few exciting players with us. Kaushik is with the team this season, who brings in a lot of experience and a whole lot of runs with him. It’s a big boost for us. I saw the team for three days in Chennai and the team has been gelling well and practicing hard,” Vijay said on the eve of the tournament opener on Thursday.
Injuries have kept Shankar away from TNPL for the second year in succession and he is yet to make his debut in one of the most popular leagues in the country. The Tirunelveli-born player is hopeful of turning out for his team in the latter part of the tournament.
“It's definitely very frustrating (to sit out injured) and this is not the first time but I’ve got used to it. I'm here as a player and it’s important for me to watch and learn. I share my experience with my players and look forward to seeing the team win every game we play. Hopefully, I should be able to make my debut at the end of the tournament,” he said.
Shankar believes the presence of seasoned internationals Ravichandran Ashwin (Dindigul Dragons), Dinesh Karthik (iDream Karaikudi Kaalai), and Murali Vijay (Ruby Trichy Warriors) is a big boost not only for the tournament but also for the players, especially from the districts.
“The likes of R Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik and M Vijay playing in this tournament is a massive thing. It is a great opportunity for so many players to be with them. When I got into the Tamil Nadu side, I learned a lot of things from them on how they prepared themselves (for matches). This is an opportunity for so many players especially for the ones from the district. I am a district player (from Kancheepuram) myself,” he said.
Despite getting injured in the middle of the World Cup, Shankar has fond memories of his debut in the tournament when he dismissed Imam-ul Haq off his first ball. He was drafted into the attack after pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar pulled out of the game after bowling four balls of his third over. India won the match by 89 runs (D/L method) with his analysis in the match reading 5.2-0-22-2.
“I was not expecting to bowl at that time. Suddenly I got the ball and the wicket followed. It all got over so quickly. It was a great moment and it was a moment that I would cherish for a long time because it was against Pakistan,” he said.
Speaking further on his experience at the World Cup, Shankar added, “Overall it was a great experience. The condition there was different. Initially, it was raining a lot and it was a bit challenging and then it got warmer. The challenge was to adapt to different conditions as quickly as we could. It was a great tour, mingling with the (top) players, watching and learning from them, even though it was sad that I missed the last two matches (because of injury).”
Dindigul Dragons vs Chepauk Super Gillies
Head to head: Dindigul 1, Chepauk 2
Match starts: 7:15 pm (July 19, Friday)
Tuti Patriots: Subramania Siva
Chepauk Super Gillies: Kaushik Gandhi
Lyca Kovai Kings: Abhinav Mukund
Ruby Trichy Warriors: Sai Kishore
Siechem Madurai Panthers: Arun Karthick
VB Kanchi Veerans: Baba Aparajith
Dindigul Dragons: Ravichandran Ashwin
iDream Karaikudi Kaalai: Anirudha Srikkanth
Published 18 Jul 2019, 20:21 IST