Millennium Post

Dhawan, Bhuvi released; rookie all-rounder Vijay Shankar in

Shankar, who has been included for the remaining series against SL has been rewarded for his consistent show as TN Ranji Trophy skipper

New Delhi: Rookie Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar has been drafted in the Indian squad for the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka with seamer Bhuvneshar Kumar and senior opener Shikhar Dhawan being released.
It will be a 14-member squad for the second Test scheduled to be played in Nagpur from November 24-28.
While Bhuvneshwar will not be available for the next two Tests due to his marriage, Shikhar will be available for the third Test after tending to personal matter.
"The BCCI would like to inform that Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan have been released from India's Test team. The duo made a request to the selectors and the team management to release them owing to personal reasons," a BCCI release stated.
"Kumar will not take any further part in the ongoing Paytm Test series against Sri Lanka and the All-India Senior Selection Committee has named Vijay Shankar as his replacement. Dhawan is available for selection for the third Test," it further stated.
Shankar is not expected to play in the second Test as Murali Vijay is the reserve opener in the squad and Ishant Sharma is the third pacer, who are readily available replacements.
However this is the maiden national call-up for the Tamil Nadu One Day captain, who has scored 1671 runs and taken 27 wickets in 32 first-class matches. He has been playing for India A for some time and also is next in line after Hardik Pandya as the seam bowling all-rounder.
Shankar, who was seen as a back-up seam bowling all- rounder to Hardik Pandya, was drafted into the Indian Test team in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka as a replacement for Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
"I am really excited (about the call-up). It has been a long-time dream of mine to be part of the Indian team. Now it has come true. My hard work has paid off. I was not expecting a call-up but now that I am in the squad, it feels great," he said on Tuesday from Indore.
"I am looking forward to being part of the Indian dressing room for the first time," he added.
The 26-year-old cricketer, who has played for India 'A' said it has helped him grow as an all-rounder.
"Being part of the India 'A' team has helped me grow as an all-rounder. I have matured as a player and learnt to perform under different situations," he said.
Shankar has been in good form with the bat in the ongoing Ranji Trophy and slammed a hundred against Odisha while also bowling long spells, which he said was good. "I am happy with my batting form. I have been bowling well too and have bowled long spells. Getting four wickets against Mumbai has given me confidence," he said.
Having overcome a series of injuries, which forced him to miss matches and 'A' tours in the past, Shankar is now looking forward to better times.
The all-rounder, who led Tamil Nadu to triumphs in the Deodhar Trophy and Syed Musthaq Ali Trophy last season, said he had worked hard on his fitness. "I was frustrated to miss matches, but worked hard on my fitness. Did rehab at the NCA with the physios and trainers there. It has made me stronger," he said.
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