In order to sort out all the combinations ahead of the Cricket World Cup, India have lost their first bilateral series at home after four years and the first time against Australia since 2009.
Before the start of the series, India had various questions to be answered in regard to the selection of the players for the World Cup.
The series has come to an end and as per the skipper, India have sorted out all the combinations for the World Cup as well and are ready to hunt the oppositions, however, one question that keeps popping in our mind is whether Vijay Shankar has made it to the squad for the World Cup or not??
Can India include both Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar in the World Cup squad? Ashish Nehra definitely feels so, “It was really important for him, small things make a big difference and I still feel you cannot call Vijay Shankar an all-rounder. He can be your sixth or seventh bowling option, he is not as good as Hardik Pandya but definitely, he will get better with time”, Ashish Nehra told News 18.
“Hardik Pandya, you look at him as your third pacer if needed. Vijay Shankar is someone who can bat at no. 3, 4, 5, 6. He is someone who can hit big sixes. We have seen him in the IPL as well, he can hit big against spinners and fast bowlers. They both are completely different players and both can be part of the World Cup squad, if Shankar keeps performing.” He added.
Just before the start of the India-Australia series, India’s all-rounder Hardik Pandya got ruled out of both the T-20 and ODI series owing to his lower back stiffness, allowing Vijay Shankar to feature in most of the matches in the series.
A golden opportunity made way for the 28-year old all-rounder, as Shankar grabbed it with both hands. Shankar got his first chance to bat in the second ODI, where he scored 46 runs off deliveries, including five fours and one six, helping his side post 250 in the first innings. The all-rounder also played a decent 32-run inning at a strike rate of 106.67 in the third ODI.
In the fourth ODI, Vijay Shankar showed his ability to switch to fifth gear right from the start of the innings, playing the inning at a strike rate 173.33. He scored a great cameo of 26 runs off just 15 deliveries to take the side’s total to 358/9 in 50 overs.
Vijay had the opportunity in the fifth ODI to play a big inning and win the final for the team and become a hero, however, in a bid to hit consecutive sixes to Zampa, he got out on 16 against Australia.
Looking at his overall assessment, Shankar has shown how handy he is with the bat, but observing his numbers with the bowl, team India, certainly, can’t look at him as the third bowler. Shankar’s bowling has a lot of room for improvement and for now, Virat can only draft him as a batsman who can give his team 3-4 overs, at most.
However, on the other side, Hardik Pandya has got the ability to strike big, and the heart to give his team full quota of ten overs and pick wickets. In the race for the all-rounder’s position in the eleven, Pandya is two notches ahead than Shankar.
The management won’t draft Shankar in the eleven, but there is an outside chance that he might be in the flight to England as a member of the squad.
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