The injury to Prithvi Shaw gives Murali Vijay a break to open for India much earlier than he would have expected. The thirty-four-year-old will be aware that he does not have much more time on the international stage. Having played in 59 Tests so far, Vijay has scored 3933 runs with 12 centuries in 101 innings.
Having made his debut against Australia, he has scored 1275 in 24 innings. Among the four centuries, he has scored against Australia is his highest of 167 runs scored in a drawn match at Hyderabad in 2013. But his average of 53.15 against the Australians is much better than his overall average of 39.33 runs.
Murali Vijay's form this year has not been anything to write home about. Other than his 105 in the one-off Test against Afghanistan, he has scored only 128 runs in the other ten innings that he played. A certainty in the playing eleven when he landed at Johannesburg, Vijay’s form started deteriorating. Indecision started creeping in leading to bad shot selection.
If South Africa was bad, the tour of England was a disaster. Scores of 0,0,20 and 6 in the first two Tests ensured that he was dropped for the next. Knowing fully well that coming back into the Test side would be difficult, Vijay signed up for Essex. In the few games that he played there, Vijay scored heavily. Also included in India A tour to New Zealand, he scored a 50 plus in the only match that he played.
Having played tennis as a teenager, Vijay is primarily a back foot player. In the just concluded practice match, Prithvi Shaw, unfortunately, twisted his left ankle and had to be carried off the field. Later it was announced that he would be unavailable for the first Test starting on 6th December. Vijay, knowing that he would be opening for India in Shaw’s place, promptly scored a fluent 129 runs off 132 balls.
Talking to the press later Vijay reiterated that the extra bounce of the wickets in Australia suits his game. He said that it gives him an opportunity to the play shots in his repertoire which he cannot on pitches that do not have as much bounce. Playing on India’s last tour of Australia Murali Vijay had scored five consecutive fifties including a century in the first Test. Indian fans will be hoping that he regains that kind of form in this Border-Gavaskar Series.
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