Nagpur: His last-over heroics against Australia may have brightened his World Cup chances but all-rounder Vijay Shankar says he is not thinking on those lines and would just stay in the moment. Captain Virat Kohli handed the ball to Shankar when Australia needed 11 runs from the last over and India required two wickets for a win. Shankar dismissed Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa in three balls, delivering when it mattered.
He may have made a case for himself with this performance to make the squad for the World Cup but Shankar is not thinking on those lines. “I’ve said previously also that I never think about the selection or World Cup thing because it’s a long way off from now. Every game is very important. I just look to give my best and win a game for the team,” said the Tamil Nadu all-rounder.
Shankar said the tough final of the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka last year when he struggled to rotate strike was a big learning curve for him and it helped him in pressure situation today. “To be honest the Nidahas Trophy has taught me too many things. Actually, I learnt to how to stay neutral after that. Be it high or low, it doesn’t matter. I need to stay calm and neutral all the time.”
“I was just ready for the challenge because I knew I had to bowl that one over. And I was just telling (myself) after the 43rd-44th over, I am going to bowl anytime. Maybe the last over and I should be ready to defend a total of 10 runs or 15 runs. So, I was mentally prepared for that.”
The young all-rounder said experienced Jasprit Bumrah also guided him while approaching the final over. “After the 48th over, Bumrah came up to me and said the ball is reversing a bit. He told me that I need to hit the right length on this wicket, where I give myself a chance to hit the stumps.
When he said that, I was clear mentally that the only way to defend those runs is by picking wickets and if I can bowl straighter, (I’ll) give myself a chance to take wickets,” he said adding that he only bowled the last over for his club side before this.
Shankar said he would not over-react after taking match-winning wickets but is glad that he could help the tea win. “Just because I got the two wickets in the last over does not make me feel really high or happy. I am trying to enjoy the moment and then go ahead with that.”
He also batted well, contributed 46 runs off 41 balls before being run out in an unfortunate manner. “When you get run out like this, I won’t say unfortunate, that was struck and he (Kohli) hit the ball so hard and I didn’t have much time to get back in (to the crease) but then these things happen in cricket. As long as I bat well and as long as contribute to the team’s win, I will be happy.”