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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Virat Kohli to groom Vijay Shankar as back-up all-rounder for Indian cricket team

With Hardik Pandya being rested for the Sri Lanka Test series, Vijay Shankar was called as replacement of Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the second match but Virat Kohli dropped hints that the 26-year-old may be a contender for a slot in the Indian cricket team for the South Africa tour.

india-vs-sri-lanka-2017 Updated: Nov 23, 2017 16:57 IST
Reuters, New Delhi
Vijay Shankar was included in the Indian cricket team for the second Test against Sri Lanka.
Vijay Shankar was included in the Indian cricket team for the second Test against Sri Lanka.(AFP)

India plan to groom rookie Vijay Shankar as a back-up pace bowling all-rounder with an eye on future overseas tours, skipper Virat Kohli said on the eve of the second test against Sri Lanka beginning in Nagpur on Friday.

The hosts rested all-rounder Hardik Pandya for the ongoing three-Test series against their neighbours which remains tied after the drawn series opener in Kolkata.

READ | Virat Kohli, in rare outburst, slams BCCI on cramped cricket calendar

With paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar released from the side over personal reasons, the team added 26-year-old Shankar into the squad for the remaining two tests.

“Obviously, Hardik is in our scheme of things as the first all-rounder but we need to find more people who have that kind of ability, who we can groom and make a back-up for the all-rounder’s spot which is very crucial when we travel abroad,” Kohli told reporters.

“That’s the whole mindset behind bringing him and keeping him in the setup, making him familiar with what’s going on here, making him understand what he needs to work on and we can look at his game as well.”

READ | Virat Kohli not worried by Bhuvneshwar, Shikhar Dhawan’s absence in Nagpur Test

A middle-order batsman who can bowl medium pace, Shankar could make his international debut on Friday with Kohli sounding impressed with the youngster who has played 32 first class matches.

“He’s a pretty balanced cricketer, pretty composed,” the India captain said. “He’s a great fielder, handy with the ball -- will give you 10 spells over the day -- and is very solid with the bat. It’s a big moment for him and he has earned it.”

First Published: Nov 23, 2017 16:57 IST

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