Bengaluru, May 22 : Defending champions Gujarat Titans all-rounder Vijay Shankar has credited the trust placed on him by the franchise think-tank behind his turnaround in batting performance this season.
On Sunday, at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Shankar slammed a 35-ball 53, laced with seven fours, and two sixes in a crucial 123-run partnership off 71 balls for the second wicket with Shubman Gill to help Gujarat chase down 198 with five balls to spare.
Shankar had been acquired by Gujarat in the auction before IPL 2022, but couldn't leave an impression in the four games he played. But in IPL 2023, he has been crucial in getting aggressive knocks while scoring 287 runs in nine innings at an average of 41 and a strike rate of 161.24.
"It was just my mental shift. Last year after IPL I realised I was carrying some injury, I was not able to bat, not able to get my bat swing. Once I did my surgery, started playing domestic (cricket) and did well. So when I came here, the best part for me was the team's trust. They gave me that feel and for me to come here and do it for the team feels really good," he said to Gill in a video posted by IPL on their website.
Shankar was struggling initially, making 18 off 15 balls. But he accelerated superbly to get his next 35 runs off his last 20 balls. "I wasn't able to time it properly and the wicket was not easy. But I knew the ball will come and find the gap, which wasn't like that on this wicket, especially when bowling on back of length. So, I just thought that after facing 20 balls, I need to go hard," he added.
Talking about his crucial partnership with Gill, Shankar said, "I've been practising really hard with the side arm and also with the bowlers, trying to set myself up and then generate power. It was good to have that partnership because we were discussing a lot and we wanted to take it deep and I think we were always at par with the required run rate." "I think we've played two three innings now, we didn't have that big partnership but this was at a time when we needed to get that partnership and we got it and we eventually won it." Gill sizzled at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium with an unbeaten 104 off 52 balls, laced with hitting five fours and eight sixes at a strike-rate of 200 to break countless Bangalore-supporting hearts in the stadium and steal the thunder from Virat Kohli's hundred. He felt adapting quickly to conditions was key in him scoring his second straight IPL century.
"It feels great. In the first half of the IPL, I was getting a lot of 40s, 50s and 60s. I was not converting into those big ones. For me, it's all about getting that big one and I knew I can build on that." "For any batter, it's all about how quickly you can adapt in that condition and situation and that's what I try to do. I look at my scoring options on a particular day and match against a bowling attack and I try to build my innings around that." Gujarat Titans, the table-toppers in the league stage, will now play Qualifier 1 against Chennai Super Kings at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday.
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