Tamil Nadu all-rounder, Vijay Shankar on Monday received a call from selectors for his maiden call-up into the Indian team. He will be replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar who will not be available for the next two tests against Sri Lanka, as he is getting married. A late bloomer by Indian cricket standards, Shankar has turned out to be a consistent performer for Tamil Nadu across all formats of the game. A highly rated middle-order batsman, Shankar is a more than useful medium-pacer as well, a skill that has made him a close contender for a slot in the Indian national team. Having a career that has seen several disruptions due to injury, Shankar has carved a niche for himself in Tamil Nadu’s middle-order, particularly after the exit of Subramanium Badrinath.
Coming from a cricket loving family, as a teenager, strikingly, Shankar honed his skills on his terrace, which doubled up as a make-shift indoor net, with his father and brother Ajay, who played lower-division cricket in Tamil Nadu. Shankar bowled off-spin until he was 20, but switched to medium-pace in a bid to break into a spin-heavy Tamil Nadu side.
The right-handed batsman has a reputation of being a big hitter which makes him an useful player in limited-overs. However, he has shown promise for the longer formats too. He made his Ranji Trophy debut in 2012-13, playing three games and scoring an unbeaten century. His breakthrough Ranji season was in 2014-15, during which he scored 577 runs in seven matches, scoring two hundred and three fifties. He also picked up eight wickets. With his debut in 2012 and his spectacular performance in the 204-15 season, Vijay Shankar progressed along smoothly and graduated from a state player to becoming an India ‘A’ player. The 26-year-old is dubbed as one of the emerging all-rounders in the domestic circuit. In IPL 2017, Shankar played four matches in which he scored 101 runs.