IND vs SL: Vijay Shankar has earned his spot, says Virat Kohli

Updated: Nov 24, 2017, 14:22 IST | Ankur Dhawan | Mumbai

India like players who double up as all-rounders. These days, they have a special affinity for those who can bat in the top six and bowl medium-pace, especially with a string of overseas tours looming

India like players who double up as all-rounders. These days, they have a special affinity for those who can bat in the top six and bowl medium-pace, especially with a string of overseas tours looming. With Hardik Pandya opting out of the Tests against Sri Lanka, the spotlight has fallen on Vijay Shankar, who was drafted into the squad ahead of the second Test in Nagpur.

Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar

The Tami Nadu all-rounder is primarily a batsman, capable of chipping in important overs of medium pace with the ball. While his bowling average in excess of 40 is underwhelming, a first-class batting average of nearly fifty with the bat, is alone enough to warrant a place in the Test side. "He has been very consistent. He has earned his spot. We wanted to look at another all-rounder keeping in mind that's a very important aspect of the team going forward. Obviously, Hardik is our first all-rounder. But we need to, obviously, find out more people who have that capability and whom we can groom and make as back-ups for all-rounder's slot, which is very crucial for us when we travel abroad," said Kohli about Shankar's call-up.

Under Kohli's leadership, India have adopted a game-plan built around the simple principle of giving themselves the best chance of taking 20 wickets. That has invariably meant that India's lower order starts at No. 6, with one of Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja occupying that spot. While that has been a successful ploy in home conditions, it's hard to see India go into the first Test in Cape Town with that same combination.

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