India A takes the Vijay path

After missing out on the Australian tour last year due to injury, Tamil Nadu batsman Vijay Shankar is out to prove a point for India A.

Vijay Shankar, who is the Tamil Nadu limited-over captain, with state coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar at the BCCI domestic captains and coaches conclave which was held in Mumbai in May.   -  Vivek Bendre

Morning doesn’t always show the day. Ask Vijay Shankar and he would agree. The Tamil Nadu batsman, who led his state to Vijay Hazare Trophy victory earlier this year, was on his way home from regular practice session on Thursday, when the news broke out.

It took the 26-year-old a few minutes to realise that he was one of the selected players for India A’s tour to South Africa.

“I just learnt about it from you. This is the biggest news. I had no idea about it,” Vijay told Sportstar.

As the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced squads for the South Africa tour, Vijay Shankar was the only player from Tamil Nadu to feature in the one-day side. His state-mate, Abhinav Mukund, too managed a berth, albeit in the four-day side.

While his voice changed after hearing the news, Vijay made it clear that he wasn’t expecting too much. And, there was also a justification for that.

“Last year too, I was selected for India A’s tour to Australia, but I couldn’t make it due to an injury. So, this time, I wouldn’t think too much about it,” he explained.

What looked like a dream come true turned topsy-turvy for the Tamil Nadu cricketer last year as he had to undergo a surgery.

“That was quite painful. To play for India is a dream, and that tour (in Australia) would have taken me a step closer. So, this time, I would only take it easy,” he said.

Considered one of the thinking cricketers in the Tamil Nadu team, Vijay also admitted that his job would be to work hard and focus on the natural game.

“Playing in South Africa will be a good opportunity, and I would only focus on playing my game. If I can perform as per my ability, the rest will follow its own course,” he said. After a good domestic season, Vijay also had a decent run with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

With the first one-dayer scheduled to be held in Groenkloof on July 26, Vijay will be missing the first-leg of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). One of the key players for his side — Lyca Kovai Kings — Vijay’s service would have come in handy for the franchise. But now, it would have to look for an alternative.

A soft-spoken Vijay, however, is not thinking about all that at the moment. He will continue with his regular practice for the next few days and hope to be ready for the tough battle. After a year, another opportunity has come his way, and Vijay is in no mood to let it go. But for that, he has found a favourite buzzword — silence!

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