With the cricket world cup 2019 just around the corner, The Indian squad for the tournament is almost finalized and we can certainly say that the men in blues are all set to put up a strong challenge forward for rest of the teams. With that said the fitness issues with Hardik Pandya, who has been quoted as one of the most sought after all-rounder players in the world currently, has left the Indian team in complete dilemma in regards to their squad for the upcoming major tournament.
This is where Vijay Shankar, the all rounder from Tamil Nadu has been roped into the team and although this player has been a point of debate after his dismal performance in the Nidahas trophy; he has made a tremendous comeback in the past few matches. Whilst that been said, let’s talk about 5 reasons why he should be a part of the Indian playing XI in the world cup.
Reason #1 His All-round Abilities
If we look down to the recent performance of this Tamil Nadu player, he has delivered quite brilliantly in most of his outings with the men in blues. While he was been included to the squad after the suspension of Pandya due to his controversial remarks about the women in the “ Koffee with KARAN” show ,he hasn’t disappointed so far in whichever match he has played in the process.
It was during the recent series against New Zealand when Vijay Shankar made the most of the given opportunity by getting along with a partnership with Ambati Rayudu in one of the ODI matches and won the match for his team in the process. It was only then when he was been rewarded with a promotion in the batting order for the T20 series against New Zealand and he performed quite well in the whole process. Not only he scored some important runs for his team, but also shown his capabilities with both bat and the ball at the same time.
Reason #2 Perfect Cover for Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya hasn’t been able to play much for the Indian team due to his fitness issues along with some unwanted controversies under his name. This is where Vijay Shankar has come over to replace him with great efficiency and he almost filled up the void left by Hardik’s absence in the Indian squad. Although his bowling is not as effective as Pandya, but his capabilities to bat at No4 is something which has given some great options to captain Kohli before the upcoming world cup.
Moreover, with Hardik Pandya still under the injury threat, it would be really silly to depend solely on him for the all rounder’s role on a big stage like world cup and the Indian team management has to include Vijay Shankar as a cover for the struggling Pandya. Even though Pandya is undoubtedly the first choice for the all-rounder role in the team, his fitness concerns makes Shankar the perfect replacement for him in the world cup 2019. Apart from being his cover, Shankar has emerged out as a mature batsman up the order for the Indian team in the recent times.
Reason #3 Shankar’s Batting at the Top Order
Indian team is really finding it hard to bring along a perfect player for the number 4 spot and with Rayudu struggling big time with his poor form, Vijay Shankar can come over as a suitable replacement in the same regards. On the other side, he is no rookie in same situation and came over to bat at the same position for this domestic team Tamil Nadu in most of the matches.
Additionally, he has batted for the Indian team in the same spot during the recent tour of the New Zealand and come over with some impressive performance in the process. That is something which makes his contention really strong for batting in the middle order and can also prove to be really crucial with his role in the world cup. This can also come fruitful for Indian team when they have to make a choice between players like Rayudu, Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik and others to find a suitable match for their middle order expectations. Moreover, not many have known that he has been a crucial part of the Indian A team which played a unofficial test match against the South African team in 2016 where Vijay Shankar held a crucial partnership with Karun Nair and took his team to victory in the process.
Reason #4 His Effectiveness in English Conditions
Vijay Shankar has clearly shown in the recent tours of Australia and New Zealand that he is bets adaptable to pitches which are conducive to some help for the bowlers and the batsman at the same time and whilst the world cup is about to be held in England, he can come up as a surprise package for the rest of the teams around. Moreover, his “more than handy” bowling capabilities would surely find the English pitches more supportive with the kind of bounce and swing on offer for a medium fast bowler like him who bowls at around 130 Kmph.
On the other hand, he loves batting on zippy and skiddy a pitch where the ball come on bat nice and fine with a hint of swing and that’s what he is going to get in English conditions. Also, Rayudu is struggling big time with both his form and timing and really finding it hard to secure his spot in the Indian squad in the meantime. That is certainly not the right signs for the captain Kohli and he got to give Shankar a chance in the batting order on the world cup trip.
Reason #5 Better Technique than Hardik Pandya
Whilst many are still judging him for his bowling capabilities in comparison to Hardik Pandya, he still carries a better technique and capability with bat than Hardik pandya. Moreover, Pandya bats generally at the lower middle order but Shankar has shown a promising start with bat in all of the top order positions he has played so far.
Moreover, his medium fast bowling can make a big difference in the Indian team’s probabilities of making into the top teams for the world cup and both the captain and the team management must be thinking of bringing him along with Hardik Pandya to make it a fully fledged attack altogether. Quite interestingly, the controversies backing Pandya might impact his chance of featuring in the world cup squad as the investigation committee of the BCCI has taken ahead the “Controversial remarks on women by Pandya “ at famous TV show, ‘ Koffee with Karan” to the next level. This makes Shankar the ultimate choice of securing a spot in place of a seasoned all-rounder like Pandya.