Did not know when I was going to pick up the bat again, reveals Murali Vijay
What's the story?
Indian batsman Murali Vijay, who is set to make a comeback into Test cricket, has opened up on the difficulty of dealing with the challenging phase away from the game. Shedding light on the arduousness of keeping his spirits up during the period of dormancy enforced by injury, the 33-year old revelled at the thought of taking guard at the crease during the upcoming 3-match series against Sri Lanka.
In a candid chat with DNA, Vijay revealed, "I could not pick up my bat for at least a couple of months. I travelled around, saw new things. In the back of the head, it kept haunting 'when are you going to get back to things that you really love'. But I channelised things that were even more important than my injury. I learnt a lot, as always."
On having to repeatedly answer queries on his comeback, he affirmed, "After a point, I got numb. I really could not answer the question as I myself did not know when I was going to pick up the bat again. Whenever I tried, it was not coming my way. I really fought hard to push through the pace and believed in myself saying that 'I will get back my whole grip', which was a phenomenal process for me."
Vijay's previous Test appearance came in the series decider of this year's edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Dharamsala during March. Apart from enduring a shoulder injury which had ruled him out of the second Test in Bengaluru, the opener battled through the series despite suffering a fractured wrist.
The heart of the matter
Following the wrist injury, Vijay travelled to England for a surgery during April. In the aftermath of the operation, he began a gruelling rehabiliation period. With the injury showing signs of healing considerably, the elegant right-hander targeted the tour of Sri Lanka for a possible comeback. However, he complained of pain whilst batting in a practice match and was consequently replaced by Shikhar Dhawan.
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After returning to action during the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), Vijay turned out for India Green in the Duleep Trophy. Even though he picked up five wickets from the match, the opening batsman could only manage scores of 4 and 13. Upon reclaiming his spot in the Indian squad for the forthcoming home series against Sri Lanka, the experienced batsman warmed-up for the Test assignment with a sublime 140 in Tamil Nadu's Ranji Trophy clash against Odisha at Cuttack.
Even though the team management also have Shikhar Dhawan to choose from, India are likely to field Vijay and KL Rahul as their opening combination for the first Test against Sri Lanka at the iconic Eden Gardens on Thursday.
Spending time away from the game due to injury can be an extremely deflating task for any sportsman. But Vijay managed to keep himself motivated and subsequently emerged stronger from the turbulent phase. The seasoned campaigner's tight technique and unflappable temperament will certainly bolster India's batting lineup.