Vijay Shankar: “No compulsion to bat at No. 6, I can be like Watson or Kallis”

Vijay has not only dropped off the radar, but he has also been the target of nasty, and often thoughtless, abuse on social media.

Vijay Shankar received so much support less than two years ago that he was chosen to the Indian squad for the ICC World Cup in England. Since then, though, he has not been selected for the Indian team and has been dropped off the radar. Despite India’s persistent lack of medium pace bowling all-rounders and their star all-rounder of that sort – Hardik Pandya – being out for a significant portion of the season.

Vijay has not only dropped off the radar, but he has also been the target of nasty, and often thoughtless, abuse on social media. Based on his IPL performances, many fans have asked how ‘3D’ Vijay made it to the Indian squad for the World Cup.

In an interview, Vijay discusses the trolls, batting positions, and other topics.

Do you believe you are at a crossroads in your career and must pick which path to take?

I’m quite clear in my thoughts. I’m not conflicted or unconcerned about what will happen. One thing is certain, my ethics must be correct. I should work hard and on the appropriate path. That has been my philosophy since I first began playing cricket. Whatever happens outside, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

You’d want to bat higher in the order. However, you were chosen for the Indian squad based on your performance at batting positions 5 to 6. What has changed since then?

There has been no change. Even if I have to bat at No. 5 all the way through, I’m okay with it. If I know that’s where I’ll be hitting, I’ll adjust my preparation appropriately. If you look at the batting positions that I’ve played in for Tamil Nadu and even in the IPL, you’ll see that they’re all different. Especially after No. 6. In most games, I don’t have many overs to bat. It has evolved to the point where I am now a 30-40 (runs) player. With that, I am unable to drive myself to play for my nation.

I’m an all-rounder, but I’m most well-known for my striking. So just because I’m an all-rounder doesn’t mean I should just bat at No. 6 or 7. I can also qualify for Jacques Kallis or Shane Watson. They either start the game or bat at No. 3 and bowl. It is not a need for an all-rounder to bat at No. 6-7. Isn’t it advantageous for the team if I can score runs at the top and take wickets?

Is it difficult for you to bat in the lower order with little time to settle? What do you consider to be your ideal batting style?

I should be able to adjust as a player. This is significant in light of the present trend. I’m not going to deny it. But if I’m just going to bat at No. 6 or 7 in the IPL, my preparation will be completely different. The preparation will be completely different whether I bat at No. 3 or 4. I batted at No. 5 or 6 for the Delhi Daredevils and had a wonderful season because I maintained hitting there.

Did you discuss a definite batting position with SRH management?

I talked to them. They stated that when I was put behind, the lineup felt more steady. So I can’t say no, I want to bat in this spot. As I already stated, I should be able to adjust. I’ve adapted before, so it’s not like I haven’t done it before.

The batting order is becoming an issue now because I need to get runs in domestic cricket. I’ve had few opportunities to bat in the last year and a half to two years. I need to go for more runs. After that, I may score runs from whichever position I bat. In domestic cricket, you must essentially bat long.

You endured a lot of social media trolling after winning the Nidahas Trophy, and you’ve already spoken about it. But it’s still going on. Is this anything that bothers you?

It used to irritate me at first. Because social media is such a big aspect these days. It’s a big deal. For no mistake, I will get trolled, and there will be a lot of stuff going on. That would be different if I had made a major blunder and they were mocking me. But it irritated me when I was trolled for no reason. It was also hilarious at times, as I would wonder why they were randomly taunting me.

But, in the end, there would be no relationship to me. All of it is out of my control. ‘Edho panraanga ivanga’ (let them do what they want).


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