Vijay Shankar looks at the varying demands of international cricket as “extra responsibility” rather than “extra pressure”, an approach that enables him to perform any role assigned by the team management.
Shankar is unfazed by the fact that he doesn’t have the skill sets of someone like Hardik Pandya, who, with his power game, has lived up to the team management’s expectations on most occasions. Be it in the middle overs or towards the end, Hardik has mostly delivered.
Asked if he faces problems at numbers 6 or 7 as he doesn’t have the big shots like the Baroda all-rounder for those end overs, Shankar begged to differ.
“That pressure will always be there to deliver whatever the situation demands. So it’s not about how powerful I am because I’ve also played down the order. I’ve also got experience playing at numbers 6 or 7,” he said on the eve of India’s World Cup match against Afghanistan.
“It’s not about taking that extra pressure. It’s about taking extra responsibility and delivering it at the right time for the team.”
There’s bound to nerves in a big tournament and the impressive show against Pakistan has helped him ease the pressure somewhat.
“Yeah, definitely, it gives any player some confidence because that is really needed for any individual. Last game gave me some confidence, and especially playing against Pakistan, making my debut against them.
“It was a very special thing for me, performing under pressure and coming out good. The team winning at the end of the day is really important. It felt really good at the end of the day,” he said.
A keen learner, the soft-spoken all-rounder knows that bowling is not exactly his strength and he is ready to work on that aspect.
“Yeah, I always look to get better in all three aspects of the game. I know I can keep getting better. I know I can bowl a lot better than what I am bowling even now. I’m just working on my bowling. Whenever I get to a practice session, I make sure I improve a bit at least.”
Having played a couple of seasons for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Shankar knows a thing or two about Rashid Khan’s bowling.
He feels that one bad show won’t change anything for Rashid, who recorded the World Cup’s worst bowling figures, against England.
“No, every day is different, and every wicket is different. You cannot take things for granted. He’s definitely one of the best bowlers right now in limited overs and he has done well.
“For me, having played with him for a couple of years, it’s very important for me to pick things from him, like whenever I bat against him in the nets, I try and pick his variations. So anyone can go for runs every day. It is about how we come back strong,” he said of his IPL teammate.