For someone taking baby steps in international cricket, Vijay Shankar is relieved that he will have his statemates MS Washington Sundar and senior pro-Dinesh Karthik for the company when he embarks on his maiden foreign assignment in Sri Lanka with the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team for the Nidahas Trophy.
Familiarity with unknown conditions is a bonus and Shankar admits that during an interaction.
Shankar knows he has to fill in the shoes of a dynamic Hardik Pandya as India skipper Virat Kohli had stated that the team management wants to groom the TN player as back-up for the Baroda allrounder.
Comparisons between the two medium-pace allrounders are bound to crop up in due course. However, Shankar, who was bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 3.2 crore in the IPL auctions, doesn’t believe in any comparisons.
“I never compare myself to anyone and personally I don’t believe in that. Every cricketer is special in his own way. As a cricketer, I should try to better myself in every match. I’m excited to be part of the T20 side and I hope to express myself as and when I get an opportunity,” Shankar, who is in Delhi as part of a Daredevils fitness camp, told TOI.
While his quality as a batsman is well-known in the domestic circuit, Shankar is aware that he has to bring the X-factor – power-hitting abilities – in his game, given the fact that he could well be a floater in the middle-order much like Pandya.
The 27-year-old all-rounder was picked up Daredevils for Rs 3.2 crore during the IPL auctions last month.
Shankar, the captain of the Tamil Nadu ODI and T20 sides, has been in good form with the bat, both in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy, said he is always looking to improve in both departments.
He scored a century (against Gujarat) and a half-century in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy league phase here, though the team played below par and bowed out early.
“Personally, I did well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. I look to improve every time I play, whether batting or bowling,” he added.