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Vijay Shankar doesn't want to be a mere survivor in Team India, wishes to stay there for long

New Delhi, May 21: India all-rounder Vijay Shankar claims he is not looking at being a mere survivor in the Indian team but someone who can perform for a long time. The 29-year-old Tamil Nadu cricketer was part of India's World Cup campaign but an ankle injury cut short his journey.

"My dream is not just to get there and be a mere survivor. Only if I excel, can I prolong my international career? It's important for us to be at our best when we go to the international level," he told PTI in an interview.

But for that, the man with 45 first-class games under his belt want a permanent batting position in the Tamil Nadu set-up which would give him an opportunity to score more runs.

"Over the years, if you see, I have batted in all middle-order slots and adapted to the needs of the team. However, when people ask me what my goal is, I tell them that I need to have a fixed batting position. If I bat at Number 3 or 4, then only can I think about all these goals," he said.

"If I am always shifting my batting position, then I will only end up getting those 30s and 40s," Vijay opined. World Cup was a golden opportunity and he admitted that Afghanistan game ended up being a missed chance.

"I missed out on two opportunities and one was against Afghanistan (he scored 29). Against the West Indies, I got a good delivery. Before that, I had successive 40 plus scores against New Zealand in a tough game and against Australia. Had I converted even one start into a big knock, it would have been a different story," he rued.

The lanky cricketer is also unperturbed by constant comparisons with Hardik Pandya and is focussed at putting up match-winning performances to keep himself in the national reckoning.

Since WC, he hasn't been part of the senior team with Shivam Dube coming in place of an injured Pandya. Now with a fit-again Pandya back in the mix, the wait for another national comeback could be longer. Pandya is often considered as Indian team's preferred all-rounder in the white-ball format.

"If it starts affecting me (that Hardik is the No 1 choice) then I will lose out on games that I have with me. If I focus on the games that I have and have match-winning performances, then my name will be there in the circuit (reckoning)," Vijay added further.

"If I perform, people will talk about me and if some opportunity arises, I will be getting into the Indian side. So I can't think about what other players are doing," said Vijay, who played 12 ODIs and 8 T20Is for India.

Vijay has an astro-turf wicket on the rooftop of his residence but during the lockdown, he didn't hit the nets. "Usually, I call two or three people who come and bowl or give throwdowns. Due to the lockdown, I wasn't able to call anyone so just did my exercises. Hope I can now start training."

A lesser-known fact about Vijay is his patronage for Tamil Nadu's physically challenged cricket team, where most of the players are daily wage earners suffering due to the lockdown.

"I have been the players for the last three years, and this time during the lockdown, I helped them with some money so that they don't go hungry. "Earlier, I had sponsored the TN physically challenged the team with their jerseys and one of them (Sachin Shiva) represented the national team for physically challenged. The best gift was 'thank you' messages from some of them," he concluded.

(With PTI inputs)

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Story first published: Thursday, May 21, 2020, 18:36 [IST]
Other articles published on May 21, 2020
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