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Vijay Shankar meditating, watching movies as fate of IPL 2020 lurches in the dark amid coronavirus lockdown - Exclusive

New Delhi, March 25: Reflecting upon his small stint in international cricket, India cricketer Vijay Shankar said he has learnt a lot ever since making his debut for the national side.

Vijay Shankar, who made his India debut in the Nidahas Trophy 2016, had a bitter-sweet journey in that tournament and the 29-year-old believes both the good and bad experiences have helped him become a better cricketer.

Talking about the deadly coronavirus outbreak which has brought the entire world on its knees, the Tamil Nadu cricketer also said that pandemics like these do not differentiate between rich or poor, hence we should not take them lightly and urged everyone to maintain social distancing and stay inside their houses.

MyKhel had a telephonic conversation with the all-rounder - who is sitting in the comfort of his home and the cricketer - talked about the fate of the upcoming season of IPL, the journey he had with Team India, and the series on Australian Cricket titled 'The Test' which traced the rise of the Aussies since the infamous ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

Here are the excerpts:

MyKhel: Did you get any message from your respective IPL franchise on the fate of IPL 2020?

Vijay Shankar: No message, nothing as the IPL has already issued its statement. But things don't look promising at this point and it would be too early to comment upon anything. Let's keep our fingers crossed and wait.

MK: What are you doing these days as the entire country in under the lockdown due to coronavirus threat?

VS: I am sitting at home and doing nothing. I am not thinking much about the IPL or cricket in general because things are pretty scary these days due to the coronavirus outbreak. The news about the condition of people in Italy and other parts of the world is disappointing, and I right now, all I am thinking about is staying safe at home and do whatever in the comfort of my home.

MK: How have been the last 3-4 months been for you as a cricketer?

VS: I think it was good because I had a pretty good time in New Zealand during India A tour. After returning from there I played a couple of matches for my company and then I started practising for IPL before this lockdown happened.

So, now we need to respect whatever is happening and just stay at home spend time with the family, which happens very rarely. Since 90 per cent of an active cricketer's life is usually spent while training or playing cricket.

This is something different and we need to accept it and be quiet. We should not force ourselves to do things because I know a lot of cricketers who will have this feeling of not doing anything but you should not force yourself and practice in ways which are not safe.

MK: Was the team selection for the three-match South Africa series on the expected lines or do you think you should have been considered by the selectors?

VS: I generally don't think about such things because even on that New Zealand A tour, I was picked in the last moment (as a replacement to Hardik Pandya). I was preparing for the Ranji Trophy game for Tamil Nadu but I got a call at the eleventh hour to join the A team for NZ tour. I am someone who generally doesn't think much about such things. It has to happen when it will happen, I just need to put in the right effort. I need to keep working hard on all aspects of my game. I cannot sit and crib and get disappointed on all such things. This is just a part of our lives.

We need to keep pushing ourselves, we need to keep performing whenever we go on the ground. This is mandatory and I feel, I should just focus a lot on that rather than thinking about why I am not selected.

MK: If at all the IPL happens in May, then in such a scenario which team according to you will be in a better state to win the trophy if the tournament is curtailed?

VS: Honestly, I haven't given a thought about that because the coronavirus pandemic has not just affected our country. The entire world is going through a tough time so I have not bothered thinking about IPL as of now because as I said these are very difficult times.

MK: You got nostalgic on March 18 and tweeted the winning moments of the famous Nidahas Trophy final victory against Bangladesh. What was going through your mind when you tweeted because you were also a part of the Indian side?

VS: When I tweeted, definitely I was going through a lot of good memories because it was my first tour for the Indian side. I made my debut in that series and got Man of the Match in one of the games. It's a dream of every cricketer to represent the country and I was going through all such thoughts. Be it good or bad (experiences), I learnt a lot about whatever happened and aimed to get better. After the Nidahas Trophy, I improved as a cricketer and I am very happy about that. Every moment that I have experienced in international cricket, I used to think a lot about that, even now when I sit at home I watch those games. I take all those backdoor videos and watch them.

I am also watching the match highlights aired on StarSports. Like today (March 24) I was watching the replays of India's 2011 WC quarter-final win against Australia.

MK: How are you keeping yourself calm and composed these days?

VS: I do meditation regularly for some time. Otherwise, I keep myself busy with something or the other. Like right now I am watching a lot of movies. I have watched 5-6 movies in the last four days. You don't have anything else to do than this.

MK: Did you watch the series 'The Test' on Amazon Prime Video which captures the rise of Australian Cricket Team after that infamous ball-tampering scandal in 2018? What was your reaction after watching the efforts of Steve Smith and David Warner?

VS: Yeah, it was something that you don't see often. Perhaps, after watching it people would know, what it takes to play in front of a big crowd and when the people are booing you or when talk about you badly on social platforms. It is a nice series.

MK: Talking about the same, David Warner returned to active cricket after serving the 12-month-long ban in the IPL 2019 and had a terrific season for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Since you were also part of the team, what did you guys talk to him, what did Warner say to you guys?

VS: He was focussed on doing his things like practising, getting ready for the gym, preparing for the matches, etc. He was not there for a year it was heartening to see him do so well after coming back from such a hard time. Since he is such a key member of our team, everybody came around him and gave him the warmth and support he needed.

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Story first published: Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 18:25 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 25, 2020