Mumbai: Despite being a prolific scorer in domestic cricket, Murali Vijay has played only 12 Tests for India in the more than four years, but the Chennai batsman isn’t demoralised.
Vijay was third opener after Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in the recent four-Test series against England, but did not get to play a single game.
The 28-year-old batsman played a 116-run knock against Mumbai in the Irani Cup, on Wednesday.
“It’s a challenge being the reserve opener... But as a professional, you can’t crib over it. You have to take it and move forward, that matters a lot rather than sitting and saying you are not playing a match. Whenever I get an opportunity, I would like to give it my best shot,” Vijay, who has scored 4310 runs in 59 first-class matches with an average of 46.84, said.
“Obviously, it’s a big game for me and the motivation level was high. I just wanted to give my best shot.”
He hoped that the platform (144-run stand) laid by him and fellow-opener Shikhar Dhawan would stand the team in good stead. “Every knock is important… Shikhar and I gave a good start to the team and hopefully we can build on it,” he said.
Vijay did not agree with the suggestion that Mumbai’s bowling attack was not up to the mark. “They are the best domestic team and have also won the Ranji Trophy for the 40th time… They have a good attack. Once we got in, we decided to play our natural game. We decided to play positive cricket,” he said.
The decision to field first by Mumbai captain Abhishek Nayar also did not surprise the Tamil Nadu batsman.
Vijay said that the team members came to know that captain Virender Sehwag would not play the game only on Wednesday morning.
Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni, on the other hand, admitted that his bowlers did not bowl consistently, but was still happy that his team could take five wickets on the opening day.
“Overall, we did well… At least we got five wickets today... Looking at the wicket, that’s not bad... Day I at the Wankhede is ideal for seamers,” he said.
He also praised Nayar for his ability to get wickets. “Abhishek has got this knack to get good batsmen out… He sets up the batsmen perfectly,” the coach said.