If there was time machine, Vijay Shankar would be happy if the year preceded 2019. Whilst still being a top cricketer in the country, there wasn’t as much focus on the all-rounder as there is now, after the 3-D tweet that was directed towards him. An injury and a few bad performances later, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder was on the wrong side of the fan spectrum.
Even his performances were not up to the mark for Tamil Nadu, with a three-figure score drought in the longest format. But putting aside his injuries and fitness concerns, the all-rounder returned to almost his A game, with a stunning century against Mumbai, in a fixture where his team needed him the most.
In the second innings, the right-hander smacked a 103, a knock that saved Tamil Nadu from further blushes in their fixture against Mumbai. In a conversation post the game, Shankar opened up to Sportstar that the long breaks helped to bring the best out of the all-rounder.
“I believe at times, the long breaks bring out the best in you. It makes you stronger… Family has always been around me and they have been my only support system. You need to fight a lot of things here, and even a few months ago, there were lots of questions on whether I would be playing Ranji Trophy and all that. So for me to come back and be where I am now, I feel happy and proud for the way I could utilise the rehab time,” Vijay Shankar told Sportstar.
The all-rounder further had his trainer and physio to thank at lot, with their efforts at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) helping the all-rounder gain full fitness.
“My trainer and physio at the National Cricket Academy had a major impact. Without their efforts, I would not have been ready so early,” he added.
Looking back at the criticism that surrounded him during the 2019 World Cup period, the all-rounder said that it was ‘very difficult’ but over time, these criticisms made him stronger.
“It was very difficult initially. It is very easy to say that you should just ignore those noises, but it is not possible. With social media around, you tend to read everything, it goes into your mind. Those days, I must say, made me stronger,” he says.
“I have seen things happening to MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and all the top players… people don’t even spare them. People appreciate them when things are going fine, but come hard at them in tough times. People who go through it know how difficult it is. I started thinking about what best I could do and not think about other stuff,” he added.