Vijay Shankar’s inclusion and then exclusion due to an injury continues to remain an enigma. Not many would have thought that Vijay Shankar would be on flight to England when he made his ODI debut earlier this year during the tour of Australia. The allrounder did make some notable performances with the bat and ball but a World Cup spot still looked like a far-fetched idea.
But to everyone’s utter surprise, the selectors opted him ahead of Ambati Rayudu who was being widely tipped to be India’s number four at the World Cup. Shankar had to then leave the squad after a yorker from Jasprit Bumrah ended his World Cup prematurely. The allrounder suffered a toe injury and was ruled out of the tournament.
And now reports suggest that his inclusion in the team had left many of his teammates surprised. The reports suggest that the players were surprised by Vijay’s role in the team and not his potential or ability.
“Of course Vijay is a fine player, but did he merit a chance in that important a position? I am not sure, considering the way he plays. Maybe lower down the order he would have been alright. At No 4 I think there was an element of risk in fielding him. It’s a specialist batsman’s position where he looked out of place,” a member of the team told the New Indian Express.
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Well, Vijay did fail to do well with either bat and ball. He played three games and failed to make much of an impression. Against Pakistan, he scored only 15 although he picked up two crucial wickets. Against Afghanistan and West Indies, he made 29 and 14 while batting at the crucial fourth position. He did not bowl against Afghanistan and West Indies.
The squad member said that he could not understand Vijay’s role in the team once Hardik Pandya returned. Shankar had made his ODI debut only when Pandya was dropped due to the chat show controversy.
“It’s a bit of neither here nor there. Vijay was included in the side as an all-rounder when Hardik Pandya was not available for selection. That’s something we can understand. But when Hardik was back, for what role was he picked again? Obviously there was no need for another all-rounder. And if he was taken a specialist batsman, did he look the part to be batting at No 4?,” said the squad member.
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