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India count Vijay Shankar gain ahead of 2019 ICC World Cup

With Hardik Pandya recovering from a back injury, Shankar capitalised on his opportunity against Australia to catapult himself into World Cup contentions with some impressive performances.

India count Vijay Shankar gain ahead of 2019 ICC World Cup
Image Courtesy: Twitter/@vijayshankar260

Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday's series decider against Australia, India are already counting Vijay Shankar's rise as a handy, nerveless all-rounder as one of their gains from the five-match series against the world champions.

The hosts approached their last ODI series before this year's World Cup, more as an assessment of their preparedness for the showpiece event in England and Wales.

With Hardik Pandya, India's first choice pace-bowling all-rounder, recovering from a back injury, Shankar capitalised on his opportunity against Australia to catapult himself into World Cup contentions with some impressive performances.

The 28-year-old has proved he can float in the batting order and with the ball, can hold his nerve in the death overs.

"Vijay has gained in confidence. He's batted brilliantly at any position given to him. He batted at number four, six and seven and he has done exceptionally well,"India's bowling coach Bharat Arun told reporters at Feroz Shah Kotla ahead of the fifth and final match of the series, currently levelled at 2-2.

He has been equally impressive with the ball. Barely two months after his ODI debut in Melbourne, Shankar was at the thick of things in the second match against Australia when he was entrusted with the last over with the tourists needing 11 from it with two wickets in hand.

The right-arm seamer, who had contributed a breezy 46 with the bat at number five, responded by dismissing the in-form Marcus Stoinis and Adam Zampa in the space of three deliveries to secure India's narrow win.

"The confidence he has gained with his bating is rubbing onto his bowling as well. The way he started, he was bowling at 120-125 (kph). Now he is touching 130s. He looks a lot more confident in his bowling. So yes, Vijay Shankar has been a huge positive for the team," Arun said. 

However, Arun did not disclose if Shankar was being considered at the number four position, a place captain Virat Kohli filled in the fourth ODI in Mohali.