The Nidahas Trophy final was a career-defining moment for India batsman Dinesh Karthik, who smashed a six off Soumya Sarkar to seal a famous win for India. It breathed new life into the wicketkeeper’s career.
But for another reason, it was a crucial match for India all-rounder Vijay Shankar. In a thrilling chase of 167 against underdogs Bangladesh, he struggled to score in the death overs and ended up making a 19-ball 17. He got out in the penultimate ball of the innings, with India needing five off the last delivery.
Of course, Karthik finished off it for India but the innings that almost imperiled India’s victory against Bangladesh haunted Shankar for a while.
“I’m not exaggerating, that was the most unforgettable moment in my life,” he had said a few days after the match. “I keep thinking what would have happened to me if DK (Karthik) hadn’t struck that six and we’d lost.”
The Chennai-based all-rounder has now thanked his India A coach Rahul Dravid for helping him get over that innings. Shankar was part of the India A squad that took on New Zealand A in a three-match one-day series.
“I had lost a bit of confidence batting in limited-over matches, after the Nidahas Trophy final,” Shankar told Indian Express. “But he put me at ease, told me that I have the shots and temperament to be a finisher. And he told me that he’ll send me at No 5, which he did in the first match, when we were chasing around 300 (309).”
Shankar made an unbeaten 80-ball 87 to steer India to victory.
“The innings really cleared the self-doubts, and in the next match I scored a 59 (off 56) in another chase of 300.”
In the next match, he made 43-ball 42, helping in another India A victory.
“Now I’m very confident about my batting in limited-over matches. I have better situational awareness and clarity of mind.”
Read more: Does Vijay Shankar hold the key to India’s remaining spots?
‘Learnt patience and calm’: Gill
Upcoming batting sensation Shubman Gill also thanked the Indian legend for his advice and help in improving his batting.
“Since my childhood days, I have practiced aerial shots and I like playing those. In 2017, when we were playing ODIs against England Under-18 in Mumbai, I got out cheaply in the first two matches after playing aerial shots. I made [29 and 34],” he said. “Rahul sir told me to use the aerial shots judiciously and to hit them only once I am well set.”
The U-19 World Cup player of the tournament (2018) implemented the suggestion and his scores in the next two one-dayers: 138 and 160.
“What I have learnt from him is how to be patient and calm. At times he gives inputs with regards to batting if he sees something. But at the same time, during tours I constantly talk to him. He never speaks about his knocks or his feats.”
More upcoming Indian cricketers spoke to the Indian Express about the impact of Rahul Dravid in their careers. Read the full article here.