Rahul Dravid gave me the confidence to become a finisher: Vijay Shankar

Rahul Dravid gave me the confidence to become a finisher: Vijay Shankar

"And he told me that he’ll send me at No 5."

Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar. (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

Back in March 2018, Vijay Shankar didn’t have the best of outings in the Nidahas T20I Trophy in Sri Lanka by any means and was subsequently sidelined from the Indian national squad. However, luck favoured him and he staked his claim back into the Indian team as a replacement of Hardik Pandya in the ODI series against Australia that the visiting team won by a margin of 2-1.

The experienced Shankar could make an impact, neither with the bat nor with the ball. Nevertheless, the Tamil Nadu-born all-rounder came into his own and played some knocks of substance in the ODI series against New Zealand. The management event went on to slot Shankar into the number three slot during the T20I series against the Black Caps that Rohit Sharma and Co lost by 1-2.

I had lost a bit of confidence batting in limited-over matches

Recently, Shankar lauded Rahul Dravid, the former Indian batsman, who works with the India A and India U19 teams and has carved the careers of a number of youngsters. Vijay also mentioned that it was Dravid, who gave him the confidence of becoming a finisher.

“The first time I met Rahul sir was before a TNCA club match (for Vijay CC) in Chennai in 2012, he was then my idol and I was so nervous that I literally froze in the dressing room. Two days later, we were batting together in the middle and like all youngsters I wanted to impress him.

So I played a couple of extravagant strokes, and he immediately advised me: ‘We have plenty of time, so pace your innings and I want you to finish the innings,’” the 28-year-old Shankar was quoted as saying in The Indian Express.

Shankar played the final of the Nidahas Trophy against Bangladesh where he failed miserably with the bat in hand. He was batting at a stage when the Men in Blue needed to score at a required run-rate, exceeding double figures. He admitted that his confidence went down a wee bit after that knock where he was eventually dismissed by Soumya Sarkar in the final over of the game.

“I had lost a bit of confidence batting in limited-over matches, after the Nidahas Trophy final. But he [Dravid] put me at ease, told me that I have the shots and temperament to be a finisher. And he told me that he’ll send me at No 5, which he did in the first match [vs New Zealand A] when we were chasing around 300,” he added.

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