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Learnt a lot from batting with Virat Kohli: Murali Vijay

Murali Vijay talks about his performances in England and Australia and the impact of Virat Kohli in his batting

Virat Kohli helped me remain positive in the second innings at Adelaide: Murali Vijay

Indian Test opener Murali Vijay has said that the break that he got after the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year played a key role in his rich vein of form during India’s overseas tours to England and Australia in 2014.

Tuned myself to the demands of the longer format of the game

The 30-year-old scored 402 runs in the 5 Tests against England last year at an average of 40.20; it included a century and a half-century at Trent Bridge and a critical 95 in the second innings of the Test that followed at Lord’s, which helped India register a famous win.

He continued his good run with the bat in the next overseas trip to Australia, where in 4 Tests he scored 482 runs at an average of 53.25 with 1 century and 4 half-centuries.

“I feel the mental aspect of the game is very important today. Sometimes, there is little downtime between matches, like in Australia where the Tests were almost back-to-back. We play three formats, and sometimes making a seamless switch can be tough. Also, when you play so much cricket as we do, you tend to be on auto-pilot. There are tendencies to repeat mistakes, and because of the time factor, it is that much more difficult to adjust.

“So when I had time off before the long stretch of matches last year (after the IPL), I worked on ironing out my technique, improve my fitness and get mentally tuned to the demands of five-day cricket. Not that I wasn't used to it, but just to get better at my game,” Vijay told in an interview.

Learnt a lot from Kohli: Vijay

Vijay picked the 99 during the second innings of the opening Test against Australia in Adelaide last year as the most satisfying knock and credited Indian Test captain Virat Kohli for helping him to not get overawed by the opposition and rather focus on putting the bad ball away. 

“I think the 99 I scored in Adelaide was demanding. We knew it was a daunting task to chase on the final day, but Virat Kohli is a very positive batsman. All he kept saying was, come what may, we aren't going to get intimidated by them. If it is there to be hit, we will hit the bad balls. In the process, I also realised he was hitting the good ball. That's the zone you want to be as a batsman - back yourself to play proper strokes. So I learnt a lot batting along with Virat,” the opening batsman said.

The Tamil Nadu cricketer also impressed one and all with his temperament, especially when it came to leaving the deliveries outside off. When asked about that, he said: “As a part of my process, I went back and studied the mode of dismissals. There was a tendency to play away from the body. So it was a conscious decision to leave as much as possible outside off, especially against the swinging ball.

“On pitches at home, you can hit through the line. But in England or Australia, you have to be sound outside off. Also, your back foot play is tested, so I worked on that as well. You have to keep sharpening yourself like a pencil, keep making minor tweaks to get the edge.”

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