India’s batting all-rounder Vijay Shankar’s last-over heroic in the second One Day International of the five-match ODI series helped Men-in-Blue to thrash Australia by eight runs on Saturday in Nagpur. With his performance in Nagpur ODI, Shankar has also brightened his World Cup chances. The tournament will be held later this year in the UK.
When asked about his World Cup chances, Shankar however said he was not thinking on those lines and would just like to stay ‘in the moment’.
“I’ve said previously also that I never think about the selection or World Cup thing because it’s a long way off from now. Every game is very important. I just look to give my best and win a game for the team,” he said.
On Tuesday, Indian skipper Virat Kohli trusted Shankar with the ball in the last over when Australia needed 11 runs off six balls and the home team required two wickets for a win. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder dismissed Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa in three balls and guided India to eight runs victory.
Shankar also revealed that the tough final of the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka last year when he struggled to rotate strike was a big learning curve for him. “To be honest the Nidahas Trophy has taught me too many things. Actually, I learnt to how to stay neutral after that. Be it high or low, it doesn’t matter. I need to stay calm and neutral all the time.”
Speaking about the last over, Shankar said, “I was just ready for the challenge because I knew I had to bowl that one over. And I was just telling (myself) after the 43rd-44th over, I am going to bowl anytime. Maybe the last over and I should be ready to defend a total of 10 runs or 15 runs. So, I was mentally prepared for that.”
Shankar also said India’s pace sensation Jasprit Bumrah also guided him while approaching the final over.
“After the 48th over, Bumrah came up to me and said the ball is reversing a bit. He told me that I need to hit the right length on this wicket, where I give myself a chance to hit the stumps. When he said that, I was clear mentally that the only way to defend those runs is by picking wickets and if I can bowl straighter, (I’ll) give myself a chance to take wickets,” Shankar said.