World Cup 2019: Getting a wicket off your first World Cup ball is always special, says Vijay Shankar

Updated: Jun 18, 2019, 07:55 IST | Harit N Joshi

The message read: "Pandya-Rahul get banned, Vijay Shankar makes debut, Rayudu has bad IPL, Vijay Shankar gets in squad, Dhawan gets injured, Vijay Shankar gets in playing XI

World Cup 2019: Getting a wicket off your first World Cup ball is always special, says Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar

Manchester: A WhatsApp message was doing the rounds a day after India crushed Pakistan by 89 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method in the much-hyped World Cup fixture here at the Old Trafford.

The message read: "Pandya-Rahul get banned, Vijay Shankar makes debut, Rayudu has bad IPL, Vijay Shankar gets in squad, Dhawan gets injured, Vijay Shankar gets in playing XI. Bhuvaneshwar gets injured, Vijay Shankar bowls, gets a wicket. Naseeb ho toh Vijay jaisa [One must have fortunes like Shankar]."

A few days before the high-profile clash, Vijay had tweeted that the Old Trafford is a, "theatre of dreams". While it was in reference to the iconic Manchester United stadium, the cricket turf just a stone's throw away actually turned out to a dream venue for him.

Kohli's priceless reaction

The Tamil Nadu lad, called to complete injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar's over, sent back Pakistani opener Imam-ul-Haq (7) leg before on the first ball of his World Cup debut game. The priceless reaction from Indian skipper Virat Kohli said it all after the dismissal.

Vijay then claimed the wicket of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed for 12 to leave Pakistan in shambles. Earlier in the Indian innings, Vijay scored a run-a-ball unbeaten 15 as India posted 336-5 in their 50 overs.

"It was swinging a bit for me so I just thought I should hit the right areas. Getting a wicket off your first [WC] ball is always special for any cricketer. Coming on to bowl so early was a surprise for me. Every bowler would love to get wickets in the World Cup and first of all we need big wickets as a team," Vijay said after India's thumping victory. "I was so blank because I wasn't expecting it at that time [to bowl the remaining balls in the over]. I think it also helped me at that time," he added.

A lot of eyebrows were raised when Vijay, who was just nine ODIs old then, was chosen for the contentious No. 4 batsman position ahead of the experienced Ambati Rayudu. Vijay's 'three dimensional' ability was the reason for getting a nod ahead of Rayudu. Not taking it lying down, Rayudu mocked the '3D' explanation by chief selector MSK Prasad in a tweet which went viral.

Poor IPL

In the IPL, Vijay managed just 244 runs and one wicket from 15 matches. The World Cup warm-up game against Bangladesh at Cardiff where Vijay scored two and went wicketless did not inspire confidence in him as well. Vijay knew he had to be ready all the time irrespective of the fact that he was informed about his inclusion in the XI just 24 hours before the big match.

"I have been batting well, and bowling is something which I know will be very handy for me. It is important to improve all aspects of my game so when the situation comes along, I will be ready for all situations. I have to be flexible in my role, batting and bowling. I am someone who feels it is very important to be able to adapt quickly to the situation," he said. From being the choice for the No. 4 spot, Vijay is fine performing the role down the order. "I was batting at six and seven in my first innings for India, I batted there against Australia and performed that same role so it was nothing new for me," he said.

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