Is Vijay Shankar the most dissed man in Indian cricket right now? India may be unbeaten, but the middle order seems to be India’s only weakness, shored up by the strength of the top three and the bowlers. And to many, Vijay is the weak link that could break the campaign.
Let's put our opinions aside for a minute, and try to put ourselves in his shoes? What must it be like inside the head of the most hotly debated cricketer this morning?
After the game. 19:30, team bus
Proven. Ironic that that word was the word I used to beat KL Rahul in our daily game of Wordscapes. After all those combinations over the years, he has gone and proven himself as India’s No 4. Good for him. And now he’s batting at No 1. And now that last word is on me. Proven. Or maybe unproven.
India’s No 4, Vijay Shankar. Does that sound right? Argh!
20:30, Dinner with DK
It should be him, da. He was my saviour in Sri Lanka. The hero of Nidahas. I was the villain. What kind of batsman can’t even connect the ball three times in a row?
Amma, what a week that was. Social media means nowhere to hide. I wanted the whole country to know me as a cricketer, but not like that one. That was a freak day. I’m better than that. I’ve shown I’m better than that. I’ve not proven myself at No 4, fine, but I have shown.
Yeah but DK’s shown it at No 4. What must he be thinking, looking at me throwing away starts like this? He’s my best friend in the team, and I’m in his spot. Now Rishab is also here. “Pass the sambar, da.”
22:00, In bed
We won, that’s the important thing. I contributed. A partnership of 28. I made half. Pulled my weight. Kept the pressure off Virat. Then got a good ball. It was a good ball. Sanjay sir also said so. Maybe I should have gone forward more. But it was a tricky pitch. No, can’t blame the pitch. Control the controllables. Control the controllables. Wish I hadn’t missed the warm-up games. No, control the controllables.
22:30, In bed
Damn, I really believed today. Like Nagpur. I really believed. Now they’re all at it again. Appa didn’t say so but I heard it in his voice on the call. So easy for all those people to sit at home behind their phones and type about a weak No 4. Everyone wants 350 even on a 260 pitch. Didn’t they see even Hardik wasn’t timing it?
I have to work on my bowling when I get back. Get a little more speed from my run-up, see if I can up my arm speed without affecting my wrist position. That’s where I’m losing out. At least if they trusted me to bowl regularly, I’d feel better.
02:30, In bed
Oh f***, this is post-Nidahas all over. Sleep is screwed. And when I do sleep, I see Mahi bhai. Shouldn’t have taken it easy on that ball at deep square leg in the last game. Mahi bhai reacted da, Mahi bhai never reacts. F***, come on.
07:00, In the gym
“Couldn’t sleep Shankar da, so I thought I’d get some work in before we leave for Birmingham.” Am I overdoing this? Maybe I should have taken that break after IPL. No. Hardwork pays off. It always has. “How many sets?”
Hardik is here too, what a freak. It’s so weird how our careers have shaped up, substituting for each other. He came into India ‘A’ in 2016 when I got injured. I came into India when he got suspended.
We took our chances, that’s important. Proven. I proved myself in New Zealand. Now I’m playing for India in a World Cup. I played a game at Old Trafford, right next to the real Old Trafford. My favourite football team’s home ground.
Now I’m playing for my favourite team. Yeah, what am I complaining about? I’m so, so lucky. Come on, let’s just enjoy these squats.
14:30, In the bus
The word press came up in Wordscapes, and I immediately thought of pressure. But my chest didn’t contract. I smiled instead. Rahul made a joke about the press, and I laughed from my belly. No fear. I’ve done this before. Back to the wall, like that time I ran out my state captain and everyone else said I’d never play for TN again. From there I became the guy who scored tough runs.
Now everyone’s saying THIS was my last game. But I know my intent was really good. That cover drive, that flick. Really positive shots. Felt good off the bat. Good processes. The results will come. Done it before, will do it again.
Haha, just realised I should adopt the Pakistan team’s hashtag. #WeHaveWeWill. I’ll make it #IHaveIWill. Actually no, leave it as it is. It’s we. Appa and Amma are with me. My coach is with me. My friends want me to succeed, even when I’m in their spot. The team is with me. We need to win, that’s all that matters. If I get a chance to help, I’ll enjoy it. We’re in this together.
Not bad. Last time it took me one week to get over this. Now it’s one day. Come on. I got this. We got this.