It is perhaps the biggest stage for a debut — an India vs Pakistan encounter in the ICC World Cup. With opener Shikhar Dhawan out with an injury, it opened up an opportunity for all-rounder and Tamil Nadu player Vijay Shankar to make his World Cup debut.
He impressed with the ball straightaway. Stepping up to complete the fifth over after Bhuvneshwar Kumar walked off after landing awkwardly on his follow through, Vijay Shankar had Imam-ul-Haq trapped leg-before instantly.
Vijay Shankar bowled a good length delivery and Imam committed to the flick shot and missed it completely. Pakistan didn't take any review and replays confirmed the plumb dismissal.
Earlier, Vijay walked in at No. 6 after the fall of Hardik Pandya (No. 4) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (No. 5) and remained unbeaten on a run-a-ball 15, with just one boundary.
He however couldn't get his timing right for most of the time leaving the field with a feeling that he might have missed out a few more runs.
His only boundary came in the final over of the innings when he chipped Pakistan pace spearhead Mohammad Amir for a boundary over the extra-cover region.
Vijay Shankar inclusion wasn't a surprise. With K.L. Rahul taking the second opener's slot alongside Rohit Sharma, it had to be Vijay Shankar playing at No. 4 for India — his three-dimensional abilities. "Vijay Shankar gives three dimensions. He can bat, if the conditions are overcast, he can bowl, plus he is a fielder," chief selector M.S.K. Prasad said after the Indian team selection.
At the nets on Saturday, Vijay Shankar was the fourth to have a go after Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. He was closely watched by Ravi Shastri and got cheered from his teammates for every good shot he played. He later went on to have a bowl, too.
(The match is underway and will be updated after the conclusion)
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