For all the success of the Indian team in ODIs in the recent past, their middle order remains quite vulnerable and the conundrum over the number 4 position persists. They have tried different players at the spot, but no one has been able to nail down his name for the spot.
After a brief flicker, Ambati Rayudu hit a rut against Australia in the ongoing series. KL Rahul is another option, but former Indian cricketer and current analyst Sanjay Manjrekar has backed Vijay Shankar for the role. The Tamil Nadu-man has been impressive in the limited opportunities he has got with the side and his temperament has stood out in crunch moments.
“Vijay Shankar is my number 4 for his ability to hit sixes as well as rotate the strike. Play him as a batsman. As a bowler, he’s worth only three-odd bonus overs, not seven or the full quota of 10,” the cricketer-turned-commentator was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Shankar has looked fluent in the ongoing series and has shown his prowess with the bat in different situations. With the option of Hardik Pandya as the genuine all-rounder in the side, the team could well use Shankar as a specialist batsman in the batting order.
With the ball, he starred in the second ODI in Nagpur where he bowled the final over and grabbed 2 wickets to hand India the win.
“I want to specially congratulate Vijay [Shankar] because of the way he batted and also for the way he bowled in the last over. That requires a lot of mental strength and he showed a lot of character,” captain Virat Kohli said after the match.
First Published: Mar 12, 2019 13:12 IST