Kohli praises ‘balanced cricketer’ Vijay Shankar

If one goes by Virat Kohli’s assessment of Vijay Shankar, the all-rounder may not be far away from a Test cap.

Vijay Shankar is looked upon as a back-up to the all-rounder’s slot, admitted Virat Kohli.   -  Vivek Bendre

Is Vijay Shankar set for an India cap? If one goes by Virat Kohli’s words, it could be imminent, or not far away!

“He (Vijay Shankar) has been very consistent. He has earned his spot. We wanted to look at another all-rounder keeping in mind that’s a very important aspect of the team going forward. Obviously, Hardik (Pandya) is in our scheme of things as our first all-rounder. But we need to find out more people who have that capability and whom we can groom and make as back-ups for the all-rounder’s slot, which is very crucial for us when we travel abroad. That is the whole idea of bringing him in, keep him in the set up, make him familiar with what’s going on here and make him understand what he needs to work on and look at his game as well.

Preview: Another grassy track awaits India

“He is a pretty balanced cricketer, he is a very composed, he is handy with the ball, he can easily give you 10-12 overs a day and he is very solid with the bat. I just saw him at the nets. It’s a big moment for him. He has earned it.”

Read: Vijay all set for Test return

Excerpts from a media interaction:

About the absence of Shikhar Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar:

“It will not worry me and it will not be difficult to pick a XI for the second Test. Not difficult at all, because we pick a squad keeping in mind that all 15 are equipped to perform at the international level. These kinds of scenarios, where two guys miss out for personal reasons, is an opportunity for the guys who get games in these situations. I am not worried at all. I am very confident of the ability of the guys who will step in and they are looking at this as an opportunity to go out and do well for the team which everyone likes to do. I am not bothered. Obviously those two guys have made an impact in a lot of games for us.”

His century in Kolkata:

As a captain of the team, my job is to assess the situation at all times. There was an opportunity to find the right moment to actually change things around. That is something that you want to do as a cricketer. Very seldom do you get a chance to make a difference in a Test match in a short span of time. I look forward to opportunities like that. At international level, you need to take risks. There is no safe game at the international level. I was pretty comfortable taking risk.

About the wicket:

The wicket is quite hard as it is usually in at Nagpur with a nice grass covering on it. So, the fast bowlers should be in play for the first couple of days, for sure, because of the bounce and the nice carry off it as well. It is a pretty good wicket for overall Test cricket.