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.
The 28-year-old might have not have had very good memories from that final, but he hasn't allowed his forgettable international debut to affect his performances on the field. Making most of the limited opportunities he has got so far, Shankar has, time and again, proved his worth with both bat and ball. And, that's exactly why he has been included in Team India's 15-man squad for the all-important ICC World Cup 2019.
A versatile batsman who is more than capable of batting at any position in the middle-order, Shankar's ability to mould his innings according to the situation is what makes him a valuable addition to the Indian line-up. In case of a collapse, the Tamil Nadu cricketer can hold the fort at one end in pressure situations, and, if need be, he can accelerate the innings in the later stages of the game with plenty of big strokes in his armoury.
If his artistry with the willow adds value to the Indian middle-order, Shankar's medium-paced deliveries further bolster his side with an extra bowling option. Though he might still be fairly inexperienced and doesn't have much runs or wickets under his belly, Shankar is still a vital cog that provides the much-needed balance to the Indian team as they chase glory in England & Wales.
Many did argue his selection ahead of Ambati Rayudu, who has performed more often than not, but it is Shankar's ability to contribute in all the three facets of the game that makes him a safer and a better bet than the specialist batsman. While we can't really predict if Shankar would occupy the hotly-debated No. 4 slot or not, his addition to the Indian squad by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) surely got the cricket fans excited on social media.
This means the #No4 debate is still open. Options now are Vijay Shankar or Virat Kohli with Rahul at no. 3. People who watch a lot of domestic cricket really rate Vijay Shankar. Happy for him but his temperament will be tested.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 15, 2019
Jadeja and Vijay Shankar both make the cut as I thought. Overall, very balanced side. Must feel for Pant though. Lost out marginally. But also lesson for him to improve his wk skills https://t.co/7Hqz0XSMLe— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) April 15, 2019
What vijay shankar offers is 3 dimensional...batting, bowling and can field. Picked as batsman— neeru bhatia (@neerubhatia3) April 15, 2019
Vijay Shankar to BCCI after getting selected in the World Cup squad. pic.twitter.com/BPy6quQVvh— Bollywood Gandu (@BollywoodGandu) April 15, 2019
Vijay shankar takes Rayudu's place ð
India WC XI pic.twitter.com/IzW9bSMDTM
Backup for almost every position. Rahul can open if Rohit/Dhawan have a lean patch or injury. Vijay Shankar's bowling isn't threatening but he offers a seam bowling all rounder option if Pandya isn't playing. Jadeja is the joker in the pack to perform the team balancing act.— cricBC (@cricBC) April 15, 2019 April 15, 2019
Vijay Shankar batted beautifully in whatever chances he got. I believe Virat Kohli at 4 is the most viable option we have. Team should be in a position to not get shattered by the loss of early wickets. CT 2017 Final should be the first and only mistake— Ravi Maestri (@ravimaestri) April 15, 2019
Rishabh Pant could have replaced DK not Vijay Shankar. Vijay Shankar is better than Pant in rotating the strike— DS Raajjð®ð³ (@draju_tarun) April 15, 2019