After the announcement of the 15-member squad by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and arguably Vijay Shankar is the most talked about player in that lineup. The chairman of selectors MSK Prasad called Shankar a three-dimensional player and that was the reason for his selection over Ambati Rayudu. Skipper Virat Kohli has also seconded the opinion as he mentioned in a recent interview.
The 28-year old replaced Rayudu in the squad and will bat at the no.4 spot in the marquee tournament. The reason behind his inclusion was the fact that he is a 3D player who can contribute to the team in all the three departments of the game. Shankar was first called up in the ODI side as a replacement for Hardik Pandya and is now considered as a specialist batsman who can bowl as well.
Skipper Kohli said the Tamil Nadu-born is a player to watch out for and backed his inclusion in the World Cup squad. The 30-year old stood in support of the young gun and explained that Shankar, can bat, bowl and is an excellent fielder which adds balance to the team combination.
“We tried a lot of things. There were a few combinations that we tried. Eventually, when Vijay came in, it was three dimensional: he can bowl, he can field, he can bat. He is a proper batsman as well. That just gave us an option, saying why not have that kind of balance which other teams have had all these years. From that point of view, we all agreed on it,” Kohli was quoted saying as by India Today in an exclusive interview.
India’s first encounter in the World Cup 2019 is against the South African team on 5th June at Southampton. Shankar is likely to make it to the first XI and will take the No.4 slot, walking in right after Kohli and will have the responsibility of stabilizing the inning.