WORK IN PROGRESS
While his quality as a batsman is well-known in the domestic circuit, Shankar is aware that he has to bring the X-factor – power-hitting abilities. © BCCI
Tamil Nadu all-rounders Washington Sundar and Vijay Shankar were rewarded for their performances in the domestic limited-overs tournaments with slots in India’s 15-man squad for the upcoming Nidahas Trophy for the T20 tri-series to be held in Sri Lanka next month.
The 27-year-old TN limited-overs skipper Shankar received his maiden national T20 call up. Shankar knows he has to fill in the shoes of a dynamic Hardik Pandya as India skipper Virat Kohli had stated that the team management wants to groom the TN player as back-up for the Baroda all-rounder.
Comparisons between the two medium-pace all-rounders are bound to crop up in due course. “I never compare myself with anyone and personally I don’t believe in that. Every cricketer is special in his own way. As a cricketer, I should try to better myself in every match. I’m excited to be part of the T20 side and I hope to express myself as and when I get an opportunity,” Shankar, who is in Delhi as part of a Daredevils fitness camp, told TOI.
While his quality as a batsman is well-known in the domestic circuit, Shankar is aware that he has to bring the X-factor – power-hitting abilities – in his game, given the fact that he could well be a floater in the middle-order much like Pandya. Shankar has been training with his coach S Balaji on specific drills over the past few months which has helped add more meat to his game. In the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 and Vijay Hazare Trophy, Shankar showcased his hitting prowess with quite a few crucial cameos laced with sixes.
“I have focussed more on ball-striking abilities. I worked on certain drills with my coach Balaji to increase my hitting range. I’m glad that I have been amongst runs in the domestic competition in the shorter formats recently which gives me a lot of confidence heading into this series,” said Shankar, who feels his bowling speed has gone up a notch.