There is no doubting that Hardik Pandya is the first-choice all-rounder and will always keep the position whenever he is fit to play. Vijay Shankar, who made his debut in Pandya’s absence, is the only all-rounder who has managed to play alongside Pandya in past four years.
The 29-year-old all-rounder, who only got to play for India A after Pandya was ruled out, recently spoke about his competition with the first-choice all-rounder. Speaking to PTI, Shankar said he will lose out on games if he thinks about Pandya, adding that he can’t think about other players.
“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). 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,” he said.
Shankar, who first made it to the Test team in 2017, is uncapped in that format. He made his T20I debut in the Nidahas Trophy – in Pandya’s absence – and only made it to the ODI team when Pandya was sent back home from Australia. He did keep his place in the squad after Pandya’s comeback but wasn’t a confirmed selection in the playing XI.
Shankar wasn’t considered a strong candidate to play the 2019 World Cup but he famously pipped Ambati Rayudu for a spot in the 15-member squad and played three matches there before being ruled out due to toe injury. An injury saw him miss India A fixtures and Shankar, who looked set to get a long rope in 2019/20 season, is probably the third-choice all-rounder now.