Vijay Shankar turned into a hero overnight as he won India a last over thriller in the second ODI agaist Australia in Nagpur.
Shankar was overjoyed as he spoke to Harsha Bhogle after the match and he said that he always wanted such an opportunity. He said he wanted to prove himself and being mentally clear helped him execute his skills. He added that playing for the country, one must do whatever is needed when the opportunity comes.
Australia needed 11 runs to win and a well set Marcus Stoinis was on strike in the last over. It was a toss up between Shankar and Jadhav as to who would bowl the over. Many predicted it would be the latter given the former had bowled only one over in the match till then. But the seventh ball of the match Shankar bowled completely changed the match as he trapped Stoinis LBW. The Aussie reviewed it but had to walk back on umpire's call.
The next ball Adam Zampa scored two runs and on the third ball of the over, Shankar shattered Zampa's middle stump with a perfect yorker. It was a fantastic moment for the all-rounder who had been coming in for criticism for his bowling.
"It was an opportunity to redeem myself after the expensive over I bowled. I was literally waiting for this opportunity, wanted to bowl under pressure because only if I deliver, they will trust me. I was up for the challenge. Around the 43rd over, I was telling myself that I am bowling the final over and defend the score, just prepared myself a bit. It's about staying clear mentally. Wanted to just stick to the basics, hit the stumps from a hard length as there was a bit of reverse. When you play for the country, you have to be ready to do what the team needs. I always say to myself to keep working on all aspects of my game so that when the opportunity arrives, I am ready to grab it. Yes, it (the batting) was good, timed the ball well and rotated the strike well. I was confident of doing well and we (him and Kohli) had a good partnership," Shankar said.
Twitter was naturally elated with the performance of VIjay Shankar.
This user played with the word Vijay which means victory in Hindi.
Harbhajan Singh believes Vijay Shankar will now definitely be travelling to England for the World Cup.
Earlier in the day, Vijay Shankar scored 46 with the bat and was Virat Kohli's sole supporter helping India put up 250 runs on the board. Kohli, on his part, returned to his prolific best as he scored his 40th ODI century.
India is now 2-0 up in the five-match ODI series and the third match will be played on March 8 in Ranchi.