Born on January 26, 1991, Vijay Shankar got a surprise call-up to the Indian team after Bhuvneshwar Kumar opted out of the second Test at Nagpur due to personal reasons. Also, the fact that India’s first choice all-rounder Hardik Pandya was rested for the series further added to his selection. With India set to take up daunting tours of South Africa, England and Australia in 2018, having a batsman, who can bowl medium pace is a huge asset. India have been grooming Pandya for a while and he is most likely to travel with the Indian side on overseas tours. If Shankar does make his debut at Nagpur, he will be India’s 290th Test player.
Coincidentally, his Tamil Nadu teammate and namesake Murali Vijay also made his debut at Nagpur – The venue for the second Test against Sri Lanka. Ahead of his possible debut, let’s take a look at some key facts about Vijay Shankar:
Vijay Shankar practiced cricket on the terrace of his house along with his brother Ajay and their father. Shankar was an off-spinner till he was 20, but then changed to medium pace in order to break into the Tamil Nadu team, which already had many quality spinners.
Vijay Shankar made his debut for Tamil Nadu in a List A match in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in February 2012 in Bangalore. He did not have a memorable one as he managed to score just 6 with the bat and did not pick up a single wicket in his 4 overs. However, he had a much better First-Class debut in the Ranji Trophy in the same year, where he made an unbeaten 63 in his debut innings and chipped in with a couple of wickets with the ball as well.
The 2014-15 season turned out to be a memorable season for Shankar, who scored 111, 82, 91 and 103 in the knockout stages of the Ranji Trophy. The 103-run knock came in the Ranji Trophy final against Karnataka. However, thanks to Karun Nair’s 328, Karnataka won the final by an innings. He ended the season with 577 runs at 57.70 in 7 matches, which included two tons and three fifties – his most prolific season in the Ranji trophy – After which he was drafted into the India A side for Australia (2015) and New Zealand (2017) series at home and South Africa before squeezed in between the two series.
India A stint
Shankar made his debut for India A in an unofficial Test against Australia in his home ground in Chennai. He slammed an unbeaten 51 as India drew the Test. He then travelled with the team to South Africa as well, where he scored 90 runs at 45, including a 72 against South Africa A. He also chipped in with a couple of wickets as well.
Shankar managed to play just one match for Chennai Super Kings in the three seasons he spent there, but it was with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2017 season that he made in impact. In his 4 matches for the franchise, Shankar slammed 101 runs at 50.50, with a highest score of 63 off 44 against Gujarat Lions at Kanpur.