In 2018, a depleted Indian cricket team snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the Nidahas Trophy final in Sri Lanka. The thrilling victory against Bangladesh will be remembered for two things: Dinesh Karthik's match-winning knock and Vijay Shankar's struggles. While the former turned the tide in India's favour with a stunning batting display, the latter's sluggish innings almost cost his side the game and trophy.
Following India's emphatic triumph, while Karthik was being hailed for his batting prowess, Shankar became the subject of immense criticism on the social media. Since that match, a lot has changed, but cricket fans still won't let poor Shankar catch a break.
Every time he comes on to bat or sprints in to bowl, social media trolls patiently wait for the Indian allrounder to stutter in a bid to remind him of his debacle in Sri Lanka. Lately, as India continues to tinker with their batting line-up in a bid to find best possible alternatives for the ICC World Cup, Shankar has often been seen batting higher up the order to the sheer displeasure of the trolls.
On 5th March, Shankar was once again sent ahead of Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni at the No. 5 slot against Australia in the 2nd One-Day International (ODI) in Nagpur. But, as the trolls geared up to fire volleys at him, Shankar, owing to a brilliant batting display, made them eat their own words.
Coming out to bat, with India reeling at 75/3, the right-handed batsman gave adequate support to his skipper Virat Kohli as the duo stabilised the innings for their side with a pivotal 81-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Striking at over 112, the 28-year-old scored a crucial 46 runs, including five fours and a six to aid the hosts.
He was on his way to what would've been a well-deserved fifty before getting dismissed in the most unfortunate manner. In the 29th over, Adam Zampa tossed it up to Kohli who smashed it straight back before the bowler got some fingertips to the ball that eventually crashed onto the stumps at the non-striker's end, catching Shankar short at the crease.
The right-hander had played just five ODIs before this game, with 45 being his highest score. But, it was arguably during this innings that Shankar looked at his fluent best, proving his credentials as a batsman. Thus, there was no surprise to see the cricket bigwigs and fans lauding his batting effort on social media.
Forget Vijay Shankar the all rounder, let's focus on Vijay Shankar the batsman. That innings of 46 was oozing class. ðððð#AUSvIND— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) March 5, 2019
Undortunate end to Vijay Shankar's innings. But he's been very impressive today, which wouldn't have been lost on his partner and captain— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 5, 2019 March 5, 2019
Vijay Shankar has been extremely impressive. This is who he is. A quality batsman who can give you a few overs.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 5, 2019
Late starter in ODI cricket, Vijay Shankar making a strong surge for a place in the World Cup squad— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 5, 2019
Waiting for someone appreciate Vijay Shankar
Pure class innings ððð
Maybe VijayShankar at 4 is the answer to the problem at 4?— Priyatham (@priyathamr) March 5, 2019
Vijay Shankar utilized his opportunity to the fullest, coming ahead of Dhoni is always a special thing for any all rounders.
Some shots around the park, but a unfortunate way to get dismissed.
He should be preferred over Raydu..rayadu is too inconsistent and does not deserve to be No 4 of No 1 team!!even on his best day he is 70 material!!— Uttam Vijay (@goforgloryuttam) March 5, 2019
One thing i liked about him is his ability to shift gears easily..— ALEX 2.0 (@kokokoshy) March 5, 2019
Would have him at no. 4— Skinhead Rooney (@centreleft123) March 5, 2019 March 5, 2019