A Batsman Who Can Bowl: Vijay Shankar

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MSK Prasad, the chief national selector for the Indian National Cricket Team and the lead selector of the Indian team for the 2019 Cricket World Cup, once described Vijay Shankar as “a batsman who can bowl.” That is perhaps the best way to describe VijayShankar’s persona. Shankar is a regular in the playing XI for the Sunrisers Hyderabad and he continues to represent the franchise in the IPL 2020. Here’s a look at Vijay Shankar’s stats over the years.

Personal Life and Early Years

It is easy to understand why Shankar is so passionate about cricket; it is because Vijay Shankar’s family is basically a family of cricketers. His father and brother Ajay both played lower-division cricket for their home state, Tamil Nadu.

Right from his early years as a teenager, Vijay Shankar used to practice his cricket skills on his building’s terrace. His father and brother Ajay were among his first mentors. Shankar began with off-spin bowling but soon realized that he was more suited to medium-pace. He made the switch in a bid to secure a spot in the spin-heavy Tamil Nadu side.

Vijay Shankar’s Personal Details

  • Born: 26 January 1991
  • Vijay Shankar’s age: 29 years
  • Birth Place: Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Batting Style: Right-handed batsman
  • Bowling Style: Right-arm medium bowler
  • Playing Role: Batting All-rounder

Vijay Shankar Domestic Cricket Career

Vijay Shankar’s cricketing journey began when he started playing for his home state Tamil Nadu in the 2014–15 Ranji Trophy. His brilliant performance resulted in him winning two man of the match awards in the tournament’s knockout stage. He played a key role both in the quarterfinal against Vidarbha, scoring 111 and 82, and in the semifinal against Maharashtra, where he scored 91.

Later on, in October 2018, he was the leading wicket-taker in the 2018–19 Deodhar Trophy with seven dismissals in just three matches. Thanks to his scintillating performance, he was named in the India B squad for the 2019–20 Deodhar Trophy as well.

Vijay Shankar’s International Cricket Career

Shankar's first international match sporting the Indian colours was in a T20 against Sri Lanka team. The talented all-rounder was named in India's Twenty20 International (T20I) squad for the 2018 Nidahas Trophy. In the second match of the tournament, he scooped up two wickets for 32 just runs and managed to help Indian team to win by 6 wickets. Thanks to his brilliant bowling effort, he was named the player of the match.

He made his One Day International (ODI) debut against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Jan 2019. The BCCI announced that Shankar would be a part of the squad for the ODI series in Australia and the tour to New Zealand as well.

His big breakthrough came when he was named in India's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup. He had a dream start when he took a wicket with his first ball, becoming the third player to do so in a World Cup. However, as luck would have it, an unfortunate injury put an end to the Vijay Shankar’s world cup story.

Vijay Shankar’s Batting Career

Vijay Shankar’s stats over the years show that he is a highly skilled middle-order batsman. He caught the eye of the selectors during his performance in the knockout stages of the Ranji Trophy when he made scores of 111, 82, 91 and 103. Here’s a look at how his batting shaped up through his career:

  M Inn Runs HS Avg BF SR 50 4s 6s
ODI 12 8 223 46 31.86 246 90.65 0 20 4
T20I 9 4 101 43 25.25 73 138.36 0 11 5
IPL 34 30 557 63 29.32 417 133.57 2 34 24

Vijay Shankar’s Bowling Career

The 2019 Cricket World Cup was the turning point for Vijay Shankar because he was brought in to replace Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who walked off the field mid-over during the second innings of India’s match against Pakistan because of an injury. Shankar became only the third bowler in that match to take a wicket off his first ball in World Cup history. Since then, he has accumulated many records that show his talent with the ball; here’s a look at some of them:

  M Inn B Runs Wkts BBI BBM Econ Avg SR
ODI 12 9 233 210 4 2/15 2/15 5.41 52.5 58.25
T20I 9 6 126 191 5 2/32 2/32 9.1 38.2 25.2
IPL 34 11 92 161 3 1/11 1/11 10.5 53.67 30.67

Vijay Shankar’s IPL Journey

Vijay Shankar has had a topsy turvy IPL journey, having played for three different teams throughout his career, including the Chennai Super Kings, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, and the Delhi Daredevils (Now known as Delhi Capitals).

One particularly impressive IPL performance came when he scored 63 not out against Gujarat Lions. He was transferred from Sunrisers Hyderabad to the Delhi Daredevils (Now known as Delhi Capitals) in the 2018 IPL auction. He played 13 matches in that tournament and had an impressive strike rate of 143.24.

Here’s a Look at his IPL Stats Over the Years:

IPL Season Matches Runs High Score Wickets Batting Avg Bowling Avg SR Econ 4s 6s
2019 15 244 40* 1 20.33 70 126.4 8.75 11 12
2018 13 212 54* 1 53 58 143.2 11.6 11 11
2017 4 101 63* 0 50.5 - 134.6 - 12 1

In the 2019 IPL season, Vijay Shankar was traded back to the Sunrisers Hyderabad. A few months before the tournament, Vijay Shankar was named one of eight players to watch by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Even though he lacks the gift of power-hitting that is essential for T20 cricket, he is an excellent timer of the cricket ball and manages to find the boundary through some elegant strokeplay.

Experts have looked at Vijay Shankar over the years and described him as a 'three-dimensional' player who can contribute in all three departments of the game. This is his moment. The 2020 IPL will be his chance to turn things around for his franchise and make a mark for himself.

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