Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar Image Credit: AP

Vijay Shankar, the India all-rounder, has revealed he was verbally abused by a Pakistan fan ahead of his World Cup debut in a high-octane clash against India’s arch-rivals in Manchester last year.

Talking on a ‘Cricket World Cup 2019 Rewind’ podcast, Shankar told how India players were abused by a Pakistan fan before their group-stage match on June 16 at the Old Trafford.

“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,” Shankar said.

“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.”

The 29-year-old also revealed how ahead of the big Pakistan match, spending some chill time with wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik helped him cope better with pressure.

“It’s very hard for me to sit in a room and do nothing,” Shankar 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.”

The all-rounder had a dream start to his World Cup career. After remaining unbeaten on 15 with the bat, Shankar got the wicket on the very first ball he bowled, trapping Pakistan opener Imam ul Haq in front of the wickets.

India eventually won that game by 89 runs (DLS method) and continued their unbeaten record against Pakistan in ODI World Cups making it seven wins in seven encounters.