Chennai: The terrace of his house at suburban Chennai doubles up as a make-shift nets. A synthetic astro turf, floodlight and a bowling machine to face, Vijay Shankar could pad up even in the middle of a night. The untiring effort of his father H. Shankar, who calls himself a failed cricketer due to lack of facilities in his hometown Tirunelveli, saw Vijay rise through the ranks.
After getting his maiden India call-up as a replacement for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the Tamil Nadu pace-bowling all-rounder acknowledged his father’s vision in shaping his career. “When my father was playing for districts, he didn’t even have proper kit. He had to borrow bats and pads from others. He ensured that I had everything to make cricket as my career. The only thing he wanted in return was 100 per cent commitment from me,” said Vijay, who has been a regular in the India A squad.
Vijay has scored 1,671 runs and taken 27 wickets in 32 first-class matches.
A tall and stylish stroke-maker, Vijay has been considered as a back-up for Hardik Pandya. Though he had started as an off-spinner, he made a swift transformation into a pace-bowling all-rounder. “I wanted to get into the Tamil Nadu Ranji team which already had quite a few off-spinners. So, I started bowling medium pace,” he added.
Vijay credited TN bowling coach L. Balaji for his recent improvement.