Vijay Shankar, who bowled an exceptional final over in the second ODI against Australia where he dismissed the set batsman Marcus Stoinis off the first ball before sealing an eight-run win by castling Adam Zampa, said he was mentally prepared for the challenge.
“I was just ready for the challenge because I knew I had to bowl that one over,” said a delighted Shankar at the post-match press conference on Tuesday night. “And I was just telling after the 43rd-44th over, I’m going to bowl anytime. Maybe the last over and I should be ready to defend a total of 10 runs or 15 runs. So, I think basically I was mentally prepared for that.”
All-rounder Shankar has so far given a decent account of his talent with the bat but struggled to make a similar impact with the ball. Even in this game, he was taken off after his first over because he conceded three boundaries only to redeem himself with a sensational final over under pressure. Shankar said the team management will now have more confidence in handing him the ball.
“Sometimes, in the last two games that I played, I might not have bowled much, I might have gone for runs in the overs that I bowled. Last over was much-needed for me. To defend that (total), will give the team also some confidence that I can do it. That is something which is important. As I said, just because I was prepared, I think, I was able to deliver what the team needed. Only when I start doing it, the team will start trusting me and I’ll start bowling a lot more. It’s all in my hands. I need to keep delivering whenever I get the ball.”
Shankar said the disappointment of Nidahas Trophy final against Bangladesh, where he struggled to put bat to ball in a painful 19-ball 17 that almost cost India the title, has taught him to stay level-headed. “Actually, to be honest, the Nidahas Trophy has taught me too many things. I learnt to stay neutral after that. Be it high or low, it doesn’t matter. I need to stay calm and neutral all the time. I’ve told previously also that I never think about the selection or World Cup because it’s a long way off from now and we have too many matches to play after this. Every game is very important. I just look to give my best and win a game for the team.”