Image courtesy of: The Hindu
“I have a long way to go but I’ve learnt a lot of things”
India opening batsman Murali Vijay has announced that he believes he has become “more mature” after representing the national team in their last six Test matches.
Vijay, who made his international debut five years ago, is determined to hold on to his spot in the Test team, but acknowledged that he will have to perform “well abroad” and at home in order to be a regular face in the squad.
“I’m more mature now,” Vijay said. “I know my game better. It’s about being consistent in all forms of the game. ”
While Vijay was initially earmarked as a potential star in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the 29-year-old has learnt to control his strokeplay and not go overboard with the extravagant shots in his arsenal while representing India in the longer format of the game.
“It is very tough mentally to tune to formats, playing Test cricket to suddenly teeing off from the first ball,” he said. “But, as a professional, that is my challenge.
“Hopefully I can transform my game accordingly whenever required.”
Vijay will now have a chance to prove how good his adaptability is as India are scheduled to tour South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia, all of which have conditions that vastly differ to that of the subcontinent.
“I have a long way to go but I’ve learnt a lot of things,” he said. “I want to do well abroad, I’m working hard on my game and hopefully I’m on the right track.”
With an eight-month gap separating India’s recent home series against the West Indies and their series against Australia in March, Vijay admitted that it was tough to get back into the groove of Test cricket after such a lengthy time off.
“Personally yes, because I knew I was going to play the next series (against West Indies), I had that much confidence,” he said. “From my expectation, I let myself down, I tweaked a lot of things and it didn’t come out properly, I didn’t get to play the longer version in between. It’s good that I’m getting back to playing a few.”
Vijay added that he was pleased to be opening the batting with Shikhar Dhawan since the flamboyant opener has been in outstanding form throughout the entire year.
“He’s on a high – high on confidence and batting at his best,” Vijay said. “We’re good friends both on and off the field. It’s great to bat with him.
“Whenever we’re out there, it’s like two friends batting together. Pressure situations get lighter hopefully we can continue to do this. You sense it inside, when he is striking the ball well, you can’t go with a pre-planned notion. If you think your partner is batting well, you can take time and not take risks. If he’s struggling, I try to get going and push singles so that I can help him out.”