India seamer Vijay Shankar made his T20I debut against Sri Lanka in the opening game of the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series Tuesday at R Premadasa Cricket Stadium in Colombo but it is against Bangladesh two days later that he picked up his maiden international wicket.
Shankar ended up with bowling figure of 2/32 from his quota of four overs and his two victims include interim Tigers T20I captain Mahmudullah and wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim.
Often seen as a competitor to regular fixture in the Indian side, all-rounder Hardik Pandya, Shankar enhanced his national team chances with his impressive performance against Bangladesh.
And following the end of the game, Shankar spoke to the media in the post-match press conference at the same venue where he made his debut. Here are the excerpts:
How do you feel after claiming your maiden international wicket?
Feels really great. I’ve been working really, really hard for it. The intensity with which I work, I think it’s all paid off with this. I think this is just a start for me. As a cricketer the constant thing is to keep improving and learning. Looking forward to coming games.
Does it become easier for a young player when team are winning?
That way the team management plays a huge part. They just gave us all the freedom and they just ask us to express ourselves, which is very important at this stage. That is very important for all the cricketers. The pressure is going to be there every time. If we enjoy the pressure we can do really well. If we put ourselves under more pressure, that’s where we will get into some trouble.
How did you feel after catch was dropped off your bowling?
Actually that didn’t affect me much. I wasn’t thinking much about that. Dropping catches I think is a part of the game. I would have loved to get that first wicket earlier, but as cricketers we all know it’s not that easy to field under lights with the white ball. I definitely didn’t give much importance to that. It was more important to me to go back and bowl the next ball. I was just focusing on that particular ball.
Do you think too many extras were given away?
Definitely no. I think most of the extras were very marginal. When we tried yorkers sometimes we were just over the line, and the line belongs to the umpire. I think as bowlers we can take that one extra yard to try things. Most of the time the batsman doesn’t leave that - they go after the ball, and it mostly hits the bat. I think we should stick to whatever we’ve been doing all this while. Even in the last game we got really close. It’s very important to keep to our strengths.
We bowled really good lengths overall, from ball one. The most important thing was we kept picking wickets in regular intervals, which gave us momentum in the game. We were able to restrict them to 139. How we bowled was very important, and we did well.
How are you feeling after two matches in the international level?
I feel the biggest strength that I have is being calm. When I play in an India jersey it’s very special, but when I play any game I always take each and every game seriously, and I play with good intent. The thing is to improve every day. It’s been really good for me. I’ve been working hard and it’s important to work even better.
Do you think there is tough competition prevailing right now in the Indian team with regards to places in the starting XI?
For me, what is more important is what I do every day - even in the nets or whatever I do. I want to get better and better every day. The pressure, and comparing me to Hardik [Pandya] - because he’s an all-rounder - I think most cricketers don’t like comparison between ourselves and other cricketers. But for me it’s very important to show what we have - to enjoy ourselves here, so we can show what we have, rather than putting ourselves under pressure.