India allrounder Vijay Shankar has revealed he lost confidence after playing a scratchy innings in the final of Nidahas T20 Tri-series last year but speaking to Rahul Dravid helped put him at ease.
During the final of the tri-series against Bangladesh, Dinesh Karthik sealed a nerve-shredding win with a last-ball six. However, Shankar, a rookie, struggled to score quickly hitting 17 off 19.
Recounting his first encounter with the legendary batsman, Shankar said he wanted to impress Dravid with whom he was batting during a club match.
In his efforts, he ended up playing extravagant shots but Dravid advised him to calm down. “The first time I met Rahul sir was before a TNCA club match (for Vijay CC) in Chennai in 2012, he was then my idol and I was so nervous that I literally froze in the dressing room,” Shankar told The Indian Express.
“Two days later, we were batting together in the middle and like all youngsters I wanted to impress him. So I played a couple of extravagant strokes, and he immediately advised me: ‘We have plenty of time, so pace your innings and I want you to finish the innings.’”
Shankar travelled with India A squad for a tour of New Zealand where in the first unofficial ODI, he played a match-winning knock of 87 not out as the tourists overhauled the target of 309 in 49 overs.
However, his confidence had taken a hit post the Bangladesh final but Dravid helped him work through it.
“I had lost a bit of confidence batting in limited-over matches, after the Nidahas Trophy final. But he [Dravid] 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 [vs New Zealand A], when we were chasing around 300,” Shankar said.
He further added, “I scored an unbeaten 87 and we won the match. The innings really cleared the self-doubts, and in the next match I scored a 59 in another chase of 300. Now I’m very confident about my batting in limited-over matches. I have better situational awareness and clarity of mind.”
Following his decent performances. Shankar managed to keep his place in the upcoming limited-overs series against Australia at home which has strengthened his chances of making a cut for the ICC World Cup 2019.
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