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Murali Vijay opens up on the intense competition for spots in Indian Test team

Ready for the tough away tours, the opener also wants to play all three formats.

News 24 Oct 2017, 20:44 IST

Vijay Rahul Dhawan
The trio of Murali Vijay, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan are competing for the two opening slots

What's the story?

Opening batsman Murali Vijay has played down the intense competition for spots in the Indian Test team. Insisting that he is always looking to improve his game rather than focusing on the performances of his peers, the 33-year-old went on to express readiness to play all three formats of the game at the international level.

"I started enjoying it and take some good things about what they are doing right rather than feel bad that it's my turn and somebody has picked up my spot. It happens in any sport, so I channelise myself in such a way that to ensure I see the right things. I was just wishing them (the other openers) luck. I am sure that's how I will go for the rest of my phase in cricket. It was a great learning for me. I have to search what is happening inside me rather than think about what is happening to others and their performance", Vijay told ESPNCricinfo.

The stylish right-hander added, "I want everybody to perform because it is a good thing for Indian cricket. I am like that. I like to have fun if it comes to me. I should be in the best place possible to go and perform. I am competitive about improving my game, about going about my cricket in a stronger manner than where I left. These are the things that are more of a kick for me rather than thinking about fighting for spots. I am in the mode to play all three formats and I am working on every aspect possible that I possess. So, these are the things that give me a good kick rather than my competition."

The background

After spending almost seven months in the wilderness due to a wrist injury and the accompanying surgery in England, Vijay has returned to the Indian Test team for their upcoming 3-match series against Sri Lanka.

The heart of the matter

With India set to begin a challenging round of overseas trips next year, Vijay sounded confident about his team's chances to perform creditably outside their comfort zone against tough opposition. Emphasizing on the importance of providing solid starts in demanding conditions, the opening batsman also asserted that the home series against Sri Lanka would give him the opportunity to regain his momentum at the top of the order.

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With Shikhar Dhawan showing the impact of aggression by playing blazing knocks in India's previous Test assignment in Sri Lanka, the competition for opening spots has intensified further. Factoring KL Rahul's admirable consistency as well as Vijay's sound technique against the new-ball, skipper Virat Kohli as well as coach Ravi Shastri could be inclined to leave the attacking left-hander from the playing eleven.

What's next?

Vijay is currently turning out for Tamil Nadu in the 2017/18 Ranji Trophy season. After suffering yet another injury scare in the clash against Andhra Pradesh, he pulled out of the game against Tripura. However, the elegant batsman has returned to action for the ongoing match against Mumbai.

He is set to reclaim his spot in the Indian team when the first Test against Sri Lanka begins at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 16.

Author's take

Vijay's unflappable temperament is quite evident from the manner in which he weathers the new-ball storm at the highest level of the game. The views on the tussle for spots reiterates his tranquil mindset. While his return to the limited-overs formats looks a bit far-fetched at the moment, India's Test team will certainly welcome the resolute opener back into their fold even as tough overseas tours loom on the horizon.

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