Ambati Rayudu is one of those batsman who certain his place for the world cup after a match winning knock but there comes a time when his inconsistent run raises many eyebrows over his role in the team. The Hyderabadi cricketer played a match winning knock in the ODI series against New Zealand but since then his form has dipped considerably. The limited overs specialist scored 31 runs in two matches of the ongoing India vs Australia ODI series and his failure has exerted the pressure on the middle order batters.
If at the last moment, team management tries an alternative option in place of Rayudu then Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant will be two options to look forward. Karthik has performed in clusters while Rishabh Pant has failed to fire in the 50-over format. However, all-rounder Vijay Shankar has build the trust and he can book his ticket to England if the team management is looking for a “x” factor in the team.
Shankar to the rescue
The Tamil Nadu all-rounder managed to impress in the New Zealand limited overs series with the bat but could not get much chances with the ball. The inclusion of Hardik Pandya over shadowed his role in the team but the latter one’s injury again brought the former one into the contention for the Australia ODI series. Sometimes its the luck and the destiny which can be crucial turnover in one’s career and the disastrous innings of Shankar in the Nidahas trophy 2018 final was one moment when many thought that we would never make it into the national team again.
However, he managed to impress for his state team and India “A” on a consistent basis and Hardik Pandya’s controversy and injury kept Shankar in the hunt for the world cup.
Shankar scored 46 runs off just 42 balls in the 2nd ODI against Australia and completed a 81-run stand with Virat Kohli to provide with a needful partnership in the middle overs. His flow in batting was also praised by skipper Virat Kohli during “Chahal TV”.
“When Vijay and I were batting, we built a very good partnership. I think he [Vijay] batted really well, in a very good flow which made my job also easy. With that partnership, I thought India could post in excess of 270 but unfortunately he was run-out. After that I had to reassess the total,” Kohli said.
Vijay the ‘bowler’
Chasing a total of 250 runs, Australia’s grip was under firm control in the chase as Alex Carry and Marcus Stoinis brought the required run rate below six with seven overs left in their innings. However, Indian bowlers had some other plans as Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav brought back India into the game after dismissing Alex Carry, Nathan Coulter Nile and Pattrick Cummins.
The hosts needed 11 runs off the last over and India didn’t had a promising bowling option to defend the score. Experts claimed Kedar Jadhav to be the ideal option who conceded 33 runs in his spell of eight overs with one wicket. While the other option was Vijay Shankar who was given just one over in the game where he leaked 13 runs.
The captain threw the ball to Shankar which gave him an opportunity to take a giant stride in his career as an all-rounder. Dangerous looking Marcus Stoinis was dismissed on the very first ball which almost sealed the game for India. Shankar kept his composure and dismissed Adam Zampa on the third delivery of the last over to draw win from the jaws of defeat for his side.
The decision could have backfired the captain and the team management but it turned out to be a moment of miracle in the career of Vijay Shankar.
Vijay Shankar’s role after the inclusion of Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya will be drafted into the world cup squad and in all probabilities he will take the place of Shankar in the team. However, the 29-years-old from Chennai proved himself as a great batsman which can make him a great option at number four in place of inconsistent Ambati Rayudu. Shankar can play as a specialist batsman and also bowl some overs for the team.
He is still an unknown commodity in world cricket which can make him a “x” factor for the world cup in the blue jersey
Do you think Vijay Shankar will make it into the Indian team for the world cup ?