“We don’t have any room for complacency,” said skipper Virat Kohli in the press-conference before boarding the flight to England the World Cup 2019. Well the skipper is pretty accurate with his words as each and every player needs to play his role if The Men in Blue are eyeing success in cricket’s most prestigious tournament.
The selectors announced the World Cup squad a month back and had some surprise picks. All-rounder Vijay Shankar and wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik were picked in the 15-man squad and if speculations are to be believed, Shankar would the first choice to bat at number 4.
Shankar’s pick came as a major surprise as a lot of players were in contention to play at that number 4 spot. Moreover, he became a villain for the fans after the Nidahas Trophy final in 2018. His 19-ball 17 almost led India to a defeat but courtesy, Karthik’s last-ball six, the right-handed cricketer’s was overlooked. Cut to World Cup selections announcement, Shankar reads his name in the squad.
Since then he has been a different player altogether. He has played two IPL seasons after the Nidahas Trophy nightmare. In 2018, Shankar scored 212 runs in 13 matches where he remained not out on 7 occasions and a strike-rate of 143.24.
In 2019, the right-hander played 15 matches and scored 244 at a strike-rate of 126.42. He also made his ODI debut for India earlier this year and has been a decent customer donning the national jersey since then. Shankar has been featured in 9 games so far where he has scored a total of 165 runs averaging 33 and a strike-rate of over 96.
Numbers do matter in cricket and Shankar’s stats clearly show that his potential as a batsman in the middle order can benefit India in crucial times.