Vijay Shankar’s dad on how his home nets helped young World Cupper in his early days as a cricketer.
On the outskirts of Chennai, a father takes a call from his son who is in Hyderabad. It’s the news of his World Cup selection. Vijay Shankar, 28, is overjoyed to deliver the biggest news of his cricketing life and father H Shankar is overcome with emotion.
“I was out of my house and in a meeting with someone when Vijay called me with the news of his inclusion. He was thrilled after having put in so much effort for the past 17 to 18 years. I couldn’t talk much to him because we both were busy with some work. He wanted me to hear the news from him,” Shankar told mid-day from Chennai yesterday. Shankar, 59, a former all-rounder himself, has played club cricket in Chennai.
“Once we came to know of his selection, we thanked God and prayed for Vijay to do well in every match. I pray that he is fit enough to play and shoulder the challenges in the World Cup,” Shankar added. Shankar turned back the clock: “When Vijay was 17, I asked him whether he wanted to play cricket as a profession or just for fun and he insisted on playing it professionally. That is an age when minds divert so I wanted to know how serious he was about playing cricket.”
Vijay’s decision helped Shankar to get going on some cricket work. He decided to build a proper net practice facility with a concrete pitch on which synthetic matting was laid on the terrace of his residence in Madipakkam. “We had an open space in front of our house. Later, we constructed another house and joined two terraces. We then prepared a net on the terrace measuring 90×20 feet which is more than the 22 yards pitch. There are lights and a gym too. This helped save time on travelling for practice. He practises there in the morning and evening. Before going for any match, he has a 15-minute knock on the terrace,” said Shankar.
Vijay has the experience of playing only nine ODIs and as many T20Is, but that will not affect his performance, felt Shankar. “I told Vijay to do your job properly and the rest will fall into place automatically. You don’t have to chase anything. If you do well, things will follow you… that is my advice. He is blessed with good willpower and is fully focused,” Shankar added.