‘A Pakistan fan started abusing us and we had to take it’: India all-rounder Vijay Shankar recalls absurd scene ahead of 2019 World Cup match
India all-rounder Vijay Shankar narrated how a Pakistan fan abused him ahead of the big-ticket India vs Pakistan World Cup match in 2019.Updated: Jun 27, 2020, 11:30 IST
India all-rounder Vijay Shankar narrated an incident which took place a day before the high-octane India-Pakistan World Cup match last year in Manchester on June 16, when he and a fellow teammate were at the receiving end of a fan’s ire. Shankar, whose first World Cup match happened to be against Pakistan, revealed how the fan tried to rile up the two players and had his mobile recorder on the entire time.
“So one day before the game, they told me, be prepared, you’ll be playing. And I was like, ‘OK,’” Shankar said on the Bharat Army podcast. “Few of us players had gone out for coffee one day before the game, when a Pakistan fan came up to us and he was literally abusing us.
“So that was my first experience of an India-Pakistan game. “We just had to take it. He was abusing us and recording everything, so we couldn’t react. All we could do was sit and watch what he was doing.”
Shankar had a dream start to his World Cup career. After remaining unbeaten on 15 with the bat, Shankar, when it was his turn to bowl, struck off the very first ball. After bowling 2.4 overs, Bhuvneshwar Kumar walked off the field due to an injured hamstring and Virat Kohli handed the ball to Shankar to complete the over.
The first ball he sent was a half-volley which Pakistan opener Imam Ul Haq failed to connect bat to and was given out leg-before wicket. It was the perfect debut any India cricketer would have wished for. Shankar revealed how ahead of the big Pakistan match, chilling with teammate Dinesh Karthik helped him cope better with pressure.
“It’s very hard for me to sit in a room and do nothing,” he said. “I want to go out for a coffee and all and I had Dinesh Karthik with me. So the two of us would go out for coffee. We used to have some fun, which is very important, I feel, because the pressure is very high. So we just have to give some time to ourselves, ease out and chill.”
Pakistan were knocked out of the group stages of the tournament while India lost in the semifinal against New Zealand. Hosts England beat New Zealand in a dramatic Superover to win maiden ODI World Cup title.