Should be ready to perform when you get chance: Vijay

Opener not worried about his place in the side for next game

Should be ready to perform when you get chance: Vijay

Time and again, through their long cricketing history, India have struggled to put up two specialist openers for an extended period. In fact, some of India's well-known openers have been converts from the middle-order, the finest example being Virender Sehwag who forged the most successful opening partnership for India with Gautam Gambhir -- 4412 runs in 87 innings at an average of 52.52.

Never in the past, though, India have had such opening riches as they have now. In Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and M Vijay – all three specialist openers -- India are spoilt for choice but they are also often faced with a selection dilemma. In what has been a game of musical chairs between the trio in the last couple of years or so, injuries and lack of form have helped the team management escape from making tough decisions but with all three of them fit and in form, they will be in a tight spot to pick the two openers for the third Test in Delhi.

While it's a happy headache to have because you are in a quandary over whom to leave out rather than whom to select, it's not going to be easy for the player that has to sit out. Picking Rahul and Dhawan for the Kolkata Test was less difficult because Vijay had just returned after missing the Lankan tour with a wrist injury. With Dhawan opting to skip the second Test here for personal reasons, Vijay rightfully earned his place and made it count as well with a finely-crafted 128 on the second day.

"I really don't have to deal with it as long as I am happy and comfortable in my space. That's all I wanted to be and if I am able to achieve that on a consistent basis, I think I am doing a good job," said Vijay at the end of day's play when asked how does he deal with the fact that he may not be in the 11 for the next match.

While Vijay felt that as a professional he had to live with this fact, he also admitted it was a bit difficult for him to miss out on matches. "I feel as a professional you should always be ready whether you get a chance or not," he noted. "You should be ready from inside, eyeing to get a chance. So, whenever you get a chance you are not lacking on that (readiness) aspect. You can be fully aware of what's happening and what's going to happen. It is difficult and I am used to it by now. I just wanted to contribute whenever I get an opportunity to play for India."

With Dhawan, who scored a sparkling 94 in the second innings of the first Test, set to return for his home Test and Rahul being the most consistent opener over the last three series (including the ongoing one), skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri will have to take the tough call.                      

Going by team's policy, although inconsistent in its application, on injured players or who miss games for reasons other than lack of form, Vijay is effectively the third choice, a sort of climb down from being number one, at least for the moment.  

Vijay insisted he wasn't really thinking along those lines. "Not really, playing for India is difficult and whoever gets a chance, I wish them luck. I know how difficult it is to be in that space and perform and whoever gets a chance should perform. That's all I can pass on to them."

 

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