Vijay looks for Caribbean redemption

Vijay looks for Caribbean redemption

Vijay looks for Caribbean redemption

Murali Vijay terms the experience of pl­aying in West Indies as “entertainment overall” but the right-hander may not like to entertain the thoughts of his previous Test outings in the Caribbean.

Nearly five years ago when Vijay travelled with the then number one-ranked Indian team for the three-match Test series, he was all at sea against an underrated but inspired home attack. His sequence in six innings on that tour were a miserable 8, 0, 11, 3, 5, 45. As expected, the 32-year-old was left out of the squad and it wasn’t until February 2013, almost a year and half, that he returned to the senior India fold, against Australia at his home ground in Chennai, in place of Gautam Gambhir.

The comeback began on an inauspicious note as Vijay could manage only 10 and six but he turned things around with 167 in the next match in Hyderabad. Since that innings to the day, Vijay’s is one of the first names that is scribbled by selectors whenever an Indian Test side is picked.

“It's a great place to play cricket because it is more of fun and there is great competition inside,” said Vijay when asked about challenges of playing in West Indies. “You can't ask for more as a sportsperson. (It’s) entertainment overall. We are looking forward to this series; have a great one and come back to India and play those (13 home) Test matches.
It will be a great confidence-booster for us to go there and perform, and execute our plans to the best. There is a lot at stake for us,” remarked the opener on the second day of India’s preparatory camp here on Thursday.

Before he was dropped from the team in 2011, Vijay has scored a modest 609 runs in 12 Tests at an average of 30.45, with one century and two fifties. Since his comeback though the Chennai batsman has amassed 2021 runs in 25 Tests at a healthy average of around 46 with five hundreds and 10 half-centuries.

The team’s 1-0 win in the series on their last visit to West Indies compensated for Vijay’s personal disappointment, an unwanted record he is determined to set right.

“Actually, last time, it wasn't good... Overall, the team did well, but personally not that great,” he pointed out. “Hopefully, I can pull it off this time. It depends on the venue where we go and get to see the wickets and have an idea and pass it on to whoever wants it. It's going to be about seeing the conditions and taking a call accordingly.

“I have been to West Indies three times before. Obviously, I have a fair bit of idea how it is going to be there. We don't know what is going to be on that particular Test match. We have to be prepared overall as a unit because this is the start of our season. I'm just looking to stick to my basics and be as consistent as possible in the season, and if I can do that, I'll be happy at the end of it,” he offered.

The Indian players had developed a good rapport with Ravi Shastri, who served as the team director for nearly two years, but he was asked to compare the former India all-rounder’s working style with new head coach Anil Kumble.

“It has just been a couple of days for us,” he began. “We had a great time with Ravi bhai and now Anil bhai has picked up from it. Hopefully we can have a good time with him and learn a lot of things from him. He's been an unbelievable cricketer for the Indian team and we are really looking forward to sharing some quality time with him.

“It's very early to comment on anything but it's going to be a great twelve months for us. That much I can guarantee as a team. We're going to be up for it, and we just want to be the best we can in this coming twelve months.”


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