<a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/players/vijay-shankar/">Vijay Shankar</a> has come a long way since the Nidahas Trophy final last year. Chasing a stiff 167 to win the final, Shankar laboured to 17 off 19 balls before <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/players/dinesh-karthik">Dinesh Karthik</a>, his state-mate, bailed India out of trouble. For the next few days, Shankar was trolled left, right and centre on social media. <p></p> <p></p>Roughly 11 months later, Shankar, having played eight T20Is and four ODIs, feels he is at a much better place mentally. He made his ODI debut against Australia in Melbourne and went on to play three matches in India's 4-1 series win in <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/teams/new-zealand">New Zealand</a>. The result could have been 3-2 in favour of <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/teams/India">India</a> had Shankar not played a vital hand in a match that was running away from India after yet another top-order collapse saw them being reduced to 18 for 4. <p></p> <p></p>Shankar then combined with <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/players/ambati-rayudu">Ambati Rayudu</a> for a 98-run stand that brought India back in the match with the allrounder playing a calculated knock of 45 being getting run-out. That innings, as per Shankar, has changed his outlook towards his game. <p></p> <p></p>"When I played in the fifth ODI where we were 18 for 4 and I scored that 45, that knock gave the team confidence that I can bat up the order and do well," Shankar told Times of India in an interview. "If I didn't do well there, I would have anyways been out of the team. I had nothing to lose. I thought I should just enjoy the moment and play as many overs as possible. That ODI has changed things for me." <p></p> <p></p>The promise in that knock was of such prominence that Shankar was promoted to bat at No. 3 in the final T20I. Chasing 213 to win, Shankar scored 43 and looked in imperious touch, smashing Ish Sodhi for consecutive sixes. His 75-run partnership with Rohit Sharma had India ticking along before he perished. India went on to lose that game by a narrow margin of four runs, but Shankar feels the result could have been different had he stuck a little longer. <p></p> <p></p>"After the practice session just before the first T20I, <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/players/rohit-sharma">Rohit Sharma</a> told me that I might bat at No. 3. He just asked me to be ready. The team on the whole feels I am good enough to bat there," Shankar added. <p></p> <p></p>"I actually expected a lot more from myself. I could have batted till the end and seen the team through in the second T20I against New Zealand, but I missed out. In that way, I was a bit disappointed. But otherwise, it was a good tour for me. I have learnt a lot and I am getting better. <p></p> <p></p>"Mentally, I was in a very good space when I went there. I remember telling before leaving for Australia that I can win close matches with the bat. I had a chance to do that but I missed out. I have done it a couple of times for India A, but I need to show the world that I can do it a lot more for India." <p></p> <p></p>While Shankar has made heads turn with his batting, his bowling wasn't used as much as he would have liked to. Shankar bowled in all the four one-day matches he's played but is yet to pick a wicket in the format. <p></p> <p></p>"During the recent series, my thinking was only to keep it really tight and bowl stump to stump. I was restrictive in my mindset with the ball. My biggest strength with the ball is to use the short ball effectively," Shankar said. <p></p> <p></p>"I can bowl quicker than I bowled recently. It's just the matter of one game where I bowl a 10-over spell and give the team confidence that I can do it. I feel it is all about that. I can definitely bowl a touch quicker than I showed in New Zealand. It is just about confidence. If I can get a couple of wickets too, things will be different."