Australia in India 2012-13 March 27, 2013

Vijay-2013 takes off on Test flight

From being the only Indian with two centuries to his name in the IPL, M Vijay Mark 2013 proved to be sober, sedate and watchful during the Australia Tests
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M Vijay is trendy enough - the tattoos, the haircut, the tude - to totally get India's phrase du jour. "I've got your back, bro." This pledge of brotherly guard-duty has begun to mystifyingly float around conversations these days. Vijay though lived it during the 2013 Border-Gavaskar Trophy. For most of the series, he did have India's back.

Vijay's performance caused astonishment, not because he scored big runs, but of his batting persona. Built like a middle-weight boxer, he has the ability to charge and launch ego-boosting and morale-busting shots down the ground. But against Australia, Vijay kept his inner butterfly and bee under wraps. He was studious, methodical anchorman, content to leave the razzle-dazzle to his partners. In doing so, Vijay (don't call me Murali) scored more runs than anyone else in the series, 430 runs at 61.42 from seven innings and was the only batsman to clock up two centuries.

His involvement in two major partnerships - one with Cheteshwar Pujara in Hyderabad and with Shikhar Dhawan in Mohali - is proof that Vijay's batting has found a new and, India will hope, more enduring, sustainable tempo.

Vijay's 16-Test career has been interrupted by five years and nine series. The four Tests against Australia are the longest stretch he's had and has come through, not as the attacking but flaky opener everyone knew, but as a more complete and all-round batsman. His maturity in the middle was reflected by his shift to a lower gear when the situation demanded.

In Hyderabad, it was the more measured Cheteshwar Pujara who went on the attack, with Vijay playing wing-man (in aeronautic, not social metaphor). In Mohali, Shikhar Dhawan made a debut that will remain in the history books for a while. Vijay said at the time that he made the decision to play support cast fairly quickly.

"When somebody is batting so well and the run rate is so high, I just wanted to hang in and play my game as per whatever I am comfortable with... there was no need for me to go for any shots, so I just wanted to play a little bit tighter and let him (Dhawan) play his natural game."

It is, says his first Ranji Trophy coach and former India batsman W V Raman, a simple conclusion to arrive at but hard to do. "Vijay's always had talent, but the one ability that people don't take into account is his mental strength. That is why he can shift his approach, like he did in Hyderabad, solidly and calmly. He's a tough guy."

Sober, sedate and watchful. This, from the only Indian with two centuries to his name in the IPL. The Test version of Vijay should evaporate when he turns out in the canary yellow of the Chennai Super Kings next week. The last six weeks, though, have marked the biggest stride he has taken in his India career, five years after making his Test debut in Nagpur. Abhinav Mukund, Vijay's opening partner in Tamil Nadu says, the performances against Australia have given Vijay "a proper spot" in the Indian team for the first time.

Vijay is now India's first-choice opener for India going to South Africa. Not a bad place to be in during a first-class season in which he averaged 17.25 in his eight Ranji innings (and, it must be said, 45.6 in his season total of 13 first-class innings before the Australia series). At the start of this season, though, Vijay had decided to target, Raman says, the Tests against Australia into his comeback series.

Until now, Vijay's cricketing career has progressed in fits, starts and flares. His pure talent and timing helped him play catch-up at the start, taking to cricket with seriousness when he was 17. Vijay came through from Vivekananda College and was quickly absorbed into the highly-competitive Chennai corporate leagues. Ten years ago, he signed on for Chemplast, a chemicals, shipping engineering and metals conglomerate and currently BCCI Corporate Trophy champs.

Former India wicketkeeper Bharath Reddy, who has been in charge of the Chemplast team, was very impressed by Vijay's batting against Australia. "He has always been a talented and very hard-working cricketer - but this series has shown us how he has matured."

All season, Reddy says, Vijay would call him two days in advance to get his practice organised at Chemplast's home ground at the IIT Chennai. Once a week was two-three hours of centre-wicket practice and the rest of the days of the week, three to fours with the bowling machine or at nets with Chemplast coach G. Jayakumar.

During the series against Australia, Vijay has spoken at length how his two failures in Chennai - 10 and 6 - had "hit him hard" and he had come into the second Test in Hyderabad knowing that he would have to stay at the crease. "I was preparing to fight it out there as long as possible and maybe if a good ball comes, then it is fine. I just wanted to stay and not give my wicket away." He had spoken to Raman after Chennai and assured him, "Mentally, I'm alright, don't worry about it."

Success in the 2010 season of the IPL had led to, Raman believes, "active aggression" becoming "part of his system without him realising it." It became "exasperating" to watch Vijay's wicket fall due to early attempt to "dominate bowling." As 2012-13 began, the two men talked of the importance of "passive aggression," being able to mentally get on top the opposition by staying at the wicket, scoring at a controlled pace and batting time.

Long innings are not new to Vijay, who, along with Abhinav put up a humungous 462-run opening stand for Tamil Nadu versus Maharashtra in 2008-09. Abhinav calls them "polar opposites" but says at one stage the 400-plus partnership became "like a blur, a dream." The two opened briefly for India as well in 2011 and Abhinav says he admires, "the way Vijay can adapt to all the three formats - and his square drive!" In the last few years he has noticed that Vijay, "has definitely worked on his game and a lot of it has to do with preparation."

They have, he says, their own ways of preparing: "I stick to working on specifics and Vijay loves to bat for a really long time in the nets, he says it gives him a good feeling. He can bat and bat and bat." It is what Vijay did against Australia: just under eight hours for his 167 in Hyderabad, almost seven hours for 153 in Mohali and over three hours for his first innings 57 in Delhi.

Reddy says Vijay had come into the Chemplast set-up as a backfoot player, who had grown up on the matting wickets of college cricket, but had strengthened his front-foot game and made the most of the IPL and the T20 format to produce a range of woah-generating shots. The IPL, Reddy said, "had given Vijay the confidence of dealing with overseas bowlers, even if in short bursts and taking on big-name players. That always helps."

Raman says Vijay Mark 2013 is much the same batsman who broke through into first-class cricket but he would like him to take a bigger stride forward rather than a small IPL-driven step, to get straight down the line and close to the ball rather than hit it on the bounce to clear infield.

At the back of Vijay's corkscrewing career, there has remained a constant subtext. He signed with Chemplast at a time N Srinivasan, owner of Chemplast's bitter rivals India Cements, was rising through the BCCI hierarchy. As Srinivasan's power grew, several of Vijay's teammates were made offers to switch to India Cements and did so. Not Vijay. Reddy believes Vijay had fierce drive and ambition. "He always wanted to be better than them. I'm sure he was pressurised too, but my feeling is that he believed he would be more important here, with us. Other boys over there couldn't get what Vijay knew he would get here, whether it was centre-wicket practice, or any other assistance."

India's new-and-improved Test opener is obviously a man with a mind and a game all his own.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ravi_hari on March 28, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    I was one of the first to object his selection in the team ahead of Gambhir as he had a very poor domestic season. Last year in IPL too he was patchy. However, once given a chance he grabbed it with both hands. He looked confident throughout and shed all his flamboyance for longer stay at the wicket. He had this habit of throwing it away after getting starts. Knowing very well that apart from Gambhir 2 others were waiting in the team to grab the spot if he fails, Vijay stuck to the task and performed consistantly. He did what Sidhu did on earlier Aussie tours. He not only ensured that One end was held tight, he also scored his runs at brisk pace which helped the team's cause. People will start forgetting Sehwag and Gambhir if Vijay and Dhawan play consistantly well. Vijay has a decade of cricket under his belt now and can don the role of senior pro along with Kohli once Sachin retires. He needs to improve his fielding to become a more reliable player of the team. Keep it going Vijay.

  • on March 28, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    Great article...Im a big fan of Murali Vijay and went and met him 2 weeks before the start of the test series at chemplast to invite him as a chief guest for a function in my college.This was even before his place was assured.But he politely refused and said his main focus was the test series and that he wanted to remain in the zone.He had been working hard and practising relentlessly day in and day out.And i sincerely believe that he has received the fruit of his perseverance.So before we jump into conclusions about South Africa lets just accept the success this man had,because ending up as the topscorer in an India-Australia series is no mean achievement...!!!

  • aks4567 on March 28, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    He is a very good player no doubt. Has the talent and the right mixture of patience and aggression. However, one thing i don't like about this guy is that 'overconfidence' gets the better of him at times. That shot in the 2nd innings of the final test was an example. Another example i remember is a catch he was trying to take in an IPL match. It was an easy catch but the way he 'walked' towards the ball and his body language, it just oozed overconfidence. No wonder he ended up dropping a dolly. Hope he gets over it, he will be fine otherwise.

  • on March 28, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    Yes, Vijay can be a good test player, if he puts his head down, start defending good balls and attacking loose balls, with the discretion a test match demands. And, put an immense value to his wicket. He has the talents to do that. But,that reverse sweep, on the last day at Kotla, when all results were possible, was definitely an irresponsible T-20 type shot. A reverse sweep to an old bad habit!

    In the field too, he has done that in the past. After a couple of brilliant fielding, anyone remeber, the casual way he ran in the outfield to drop a dolly catch.

    Once, he gains confidence about his position in the team, and his game for a while, his "casualness" resurfaces. It is this over-confidence is something... only a mental conditioning coach can tackle and resolve. Once that "rehab" is achieved, he can be a fantastic opener! The way he did NOT try to copy Dhawan's fireworks at the other end (Mohali), proves that he can have excellent self-control, which is essential for an good opener

  • rick333 on March 27, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    he seems to be a fine player with the lazy elegance but one can already see what T20 has done to him -playing away from his body. His technique much like rest of the lineup (barrng may be Pujara) will be tested in SA. Hope he does well for cricket sake. it will be a shame if such a person with loads of talent is lost due to shortest form of cricket

  • Hardy1 on March 27, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    I enjoyed the article and he's had a good series, but let's leave it at that. Pujara is someone we can talk about in this vein now, but even he has to prove himself abroad. I think Pujara & Kohli will be the mainstays & hopefully Vijay manages the same. India have a lot of good batsmen though to be honest & someone will always perform at home (which is great don't get me wrong), so it's these away performances that they've really got to make count.

  • Johnny_129 on March 30, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    The rise of new young talent like Vijay is great and shows that youngsters are ready to grab their chance. For too long India persisted with Rohit Sharma to come right while other young players got ignored. It is also the correct time to introduce Unmukt Chand - players need to be given their break when they are ready or it leads to frustration. I am a big fan of SRT but there will be no better time for him to retire - he should have retired from ODI's after the WC win and going to SA will be a mistake as it will not affect the result of the series!

  • on March 29, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    People complaining about Vijay's back-foot play and other technical deficiencies need to really ponder about the number of technically correct batsmen have India produced in the last 25 years. Apart from Tendulkar & Dravid, none. All the other batsmen have had technical flaws and some have even succeeded despite the flaws. Instead of gathering all your inner energies to showcase your biased opinions, please ponder about this: If Vijay is as bad a batsman as you'd like to believe, then what about the other batsmen who scored less than him in the Australian series? How bad they must be! And yes, Vijay might fail in South Africa. But if he does, you can be rest assured that he wouldn't be the only Indian to fail in that tour. Let's see what you have to say about your other favorite stars then.

  • on March 29, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Vijay is a very good player and gave India the hand when needed and took care of the top order to stay to bring the momentum to the game however all these things happened in India with Indian batting conditions. He has to score similarly in foreign land where the pitch will have extraordinary bounce and pace. He is a good player of pace and bounce however he should maintain the same patience what he has showed in the last test series which was new for Vijay who normally throws his wicket when the team needed very badly. Let us hope that he will continue to play good cricket and did not waste his wickets for poor deliveries. In fact he did that in both the Innings of Chennai Test as well. Therefore, he has to concentrate on his batting by not going for loose shots and let the bowler work on their good bowling to take his wicket. I wish Vijay all success in the next Series against South Africa where morkel, styrn and Philander are looking at every opportunity to get him out. Good luck.

  • rosh280 on March 29, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    It will be no different story it will be the same for murali vijay. he will play the same way he played in india against aussies. pray for india now. We have plenty of talented players like murali vijay, cheteswar pujara, rohit sharma, shikhar dawan, dhoni, tendulkar, jadeja, aswin, ojha, bhuvanesh kumar, ishant sharma. it will be definitely india to win over south africa. Their fast bowling is pretty ordinary with steyn, tsotsbe, kleinveldt and peterson. murali vijay, shikhar dawan, cheteswar pujara all played these bowlers well. I remember the sixes made by murali vijay against steyn in ipl matches. it was awesome. Only thing is that they had good batting lineup that is their strength. they have amla, smith, a b devilliers, ingram, miller. our bowling line up should be capable of getting these wickets. bhuvanesh kumar, aswin, ishant sharma, ojha, jadeja are capable of getting these big wickets. meanwhile they have to put 100 percent effort. series will be infavour of india.

  • ravi_hari on March 28, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    I was one of the first to object his selection in the team ahead of Gambhir as he had a very poor domestic season. Last year in IPL too he was patchy. However, once given a chance he grabbed it with both hands. He looked confident throughout and shed all his flamboyance for longer stay at the wicket. He had this habit of throwing it away after getting starts. Knowing very well that apart from Gambhir 2 others were waiting in the team to grab the spot if he fails, Vijay stuck to the task and performed consistantly. He did what Sidhu did on earlier Aussie tours. He not only ensured that One end was held tight, he also scored his runs at brisk pace which helped the team's cause. People will start forgetting Sehwag and Gambhir if Vijay and Dhawan play consistantly well. Vijay has a decade of cricket under his belt now and can don the role of senior pro along with Kohli once Sachin retires. He needs to improve his fielding to become a more reliable player of the team. Keep it going Vijay.

  • on March 28, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    Great article...Im a big fan of Murali Vijay and went and met him 2 weeks before the start of the test series at chemplast to invite him as a chief guest for a function in my college.This was even before his place was assured.But he politely refused and said his main focus was the test series and that he wanted to remain in the zone.He had been working hard and practising relentlessly day in and day out.And i sincerely believe that he has received the fruit of his perseverance.So before we jump into conclusions about South Africa lets just accept the success this man had,because ending up as the topscorer in an India-Australia series is no mean achievement...!!!

  • aks4567 on March 28, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    He is a very good player no doubt. Has the talent and the right mixture of patience and aggression. However, one thing i don't like about this guy is that 'overconfidence' gets the better of him at times. That shot in the 2nd innings of the final test was an example. Another example i remember is a catch he was trying to take in an IPL match. It was an easy catch but the way he 'walked' towards the ball and his body language, it just oozed overconfidence. No wonder he ended up dropping a dolly. Hope he gets over it, he will be fine otherwise.

  • on March 28, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    Yes, Vijay can be a good test player, if he puts his head down, start defending good balls and attacking loose balls, with the discretion a test match demands. And, put an immense value to his wicket. He has the talents to do that. But,that reverse sweep, on the last day at Kotla, when all results were possible, was definitely an irresponsible T-20 type shot. A reverse sweep to an old bad habit!

    In the field too, he has done that in the past. After a couple of brilliant fielding, anyone remeber, the casual way he ran in the outfield to drop a dolly catch.

    Once, he gains confidence about his position in the team, and his game for a while, his "casualness" resurfaces. It is this over-confidence is something... only a mental conditioning coach can tackle and resolve. Once that "rehab" is achieved, he can be a fantastic opener! The way he did NOT try to copy Dhawan's fireworks at the other end (Mohali), proves that he can have excellent self-control, which is essential for an good opener

  • rick333 on March 27, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    he seems to be a fine player with the lazy elegance but one can already see what T20 has done to him -playing away from his body. His technique much like rest of the lineup (barrng may be Pujara) will be tested in SA. Hope he does well for cricket sake. it will be a shame if such a person with loads of talent is lost due to shortest form of cricket

  • Hardy1 on March 27, 2013, 22:04 GMT

    I enjoyed the article and he's had a good series, but let's leave it at that. Pujara is someone we can talk about in this vein now, but even he has to prove himself abroad. I think Pujara & Kohli will be the mainstays & hopefully Vijay manages the same. India have a lot of good batsmen though to be honest & someone will always perform at home (which is great don't get me wrong), so it's these away performances that they've really got to make count.

  • Johnny_129 on March 30, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    The rise of new young talent like Vijay is great and shows that youngsters are ready to grab their chance. For too long India persisted with Rohit Sharma to come right while other young players got ignored. It is also the correct time to introduce Unmukt Chand - players need to be given their break when they are ready or it leads to frustration. I am a big fan of SRT but there will be no better time for him to retire - he should have retired from ODI's after the WC win and going to SA will be a mistake as it will not affect the result of the series!

  • on March 29, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    People complaining about Vijay's back-foot play and other technical deficiencies need to really ponder about the number of technically correct batsmen have India produced in the last 25 years. Apart from Tendulkar & Dravid, none. All the other batsmen have had technical flaws and some have even succeeded despite the flaws. Instead of gathering all your inner energies to showcase your biased opinions, please ponder about this: If Vijay is as bad a batsman as you'd like to believe, then what about the other batsmen who scored less than him in the Australian series? How bad they must be! And yes, Vijay might fail in South Africa. But if he does, you can be rest assured that he wouldn't be the only Indian to fail in that tour. Let's see what you have to say about your other favorite stars then.

  • on March 29, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Vijay is a very good player and gave India the hand when needed and took care of the top order to stay to bring the momentum to the game however all these things happened in India with Indian batting conditions. He has to score similarly in foreign land where the pitch will have extraordinary bounce and pace. He is a good player of pace and bounce however he should maintain the same patience what he has showed in the last test series which was new for Vijay who normally throws his wicket when the team needed very badly. Let us hope that he will continue to play good cricket and did not waste his wickets for poor deliveries. In fact he did that in both the Innings of Chennai Test as well. Therefore, he has to concentrate on his batting by not going for loose shots and let the bowler work on their good bowling to take his wicket. I wish Vijay all success in the next Series against South Africa where morkel, styrn and Philander are looking at every opportunity to get him out. Good luck.

  • rosh280 on March 29, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    It will be no different story it will be the same for murali vijay. he will play the same way he played in india against aussies. pray for india now. We have plenty of talented players like murali vijay, cheteswar pujara, rohit sharma, shikhar dawan, dhoni, tendulkar, jadeja, aswin, ojha, bhuvanesh kumar, ishant sharma. it will be definitely india to win over south africa. Their fast bowling is pretty ordinary with steyn, tsotsbe, kleinveldt and peterson. murali vijay, shikhar dawan, cheteswar pujara all played these bowlers well. I remember the sixes made by murali vijay against steyn in ipl matches. it was awesome. Only thing is that they had good batting lineup that is their strength. they have amla, smith, a b devilliers, ingram, miller. our bowling line up should be capable of getting these wickets. bhuvanesh kumar, aswin, ishant sharma, ojha, jadeja are capable of getting these big wickets. meanwhile they have to put 100 percent effort. series will be infavour of india.

  • rosh280 on March 29, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    Vijay gained around a lot by putting his effort on nets and i remember i met him once in mylapore( Chennai). He is really a common man without any guts, matured man with good character. I really love him, his cricket and his passion for cricket. He plays fair and square. I really fell over the edge in his ability to score runs.one positive thing to note about him is that he plays according to the situation. We tried out many openers they all fell through. Every day i can see alot of fiddle faddle about rohit Sharma and vijay. Those who give other players name are hard up, really hard up. We don't have to blue ones horn. Murali vijay is a big hit in india and he will be a big hit outside too. There are a lot of players on wait with skills after vijay and dhawan like unmukt chand, v a jagadeesh, manish pandey, mayank agarwal and asad pathan. I am of the opinion that v a jagadeesh of kerala should be given one chance he is really an alrounder with most runs in ranchi and recent 20-20.

  • rosh280 on March 29, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    He is a very good player of great standard with skills and application rather than fuke players we had it earlier. No doubt, he will become one of the best opener we had it for a while. Since it was a dismal failure of ajinkya rahane, it will be great to look up on players of great skills like murali vijay. There are a lot of people knocked him down morally by saying he is failed in Indian pitches, against aussies and foreign pitches.they don't know his records before he comes to Indian team. He is a very humble, straightforward and dedicated player that type of player will be bounded with success. I have one thing to say those who criticize players like these don't watch cricket they watch ponytail cricket. We have great selection team they would be always right we have to honour them. I am sure that sandeep patil is a man of action when he assumed office he gave victories and victories and we have a good team to back dhoni. Now its hunkey dory.

  • on March 29, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    Still Wasim Jaffer is the best opening batsman in India for Test Match format. All other IPL bullies like Vijay will struggle on bouncy turfs.

  • jimwhatever on March 29, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    he would be a complete flop overseas for sure

  • sweetspot on March 29, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    Fantastic shot maker just became excellent player too! Instead of rejoicing in the moment, why are so many people still "reserving" their judgment till they see Vijay succeeding in SA, Australia, England, etc. Isn't half the world's cricket still played in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan? Ricky Ponting averaged 6 in his first series in India. Did the Australians write him off after that? I'm just sick and tired of this "Let's see how he does in SA" nonsense. Why should SA be any sort of yardstick for an Indian player?

    With the IPL almost here, I hope Vijay throws all his Test application in the freezer and comes out blazing. That is what CSK need him for and I hope we get to see a great deal more of the strokemaker! Enough already with the "serious" stuff.

  • CricketFanIndUS on March 29, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    The stability Vijay brought to our innings was essential in the last 3 test match wins.

  • CricketFanIndUS on March 29, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Thank you Vijay for scoring the most runs, playing the most balls and making the best partnerships in the series. These partnerships win test matches as they tire the opponent's bowlers and reduce their confidence. Just before the start of the England series before this one, I was hoping that our team will make long batting partnerships and find new test players to fill the huge void left by the retired and hurt players. It took a little longer than I was hoping for, but it is a long term exercise (finding new test players). If Vijay continues with the same approach, who knows, he may develop well in playing overseas.

  • Nampally on March 28, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    Something dramatic happened in the Second Test vs. the Aussies which turned Vijay's career from being terminated to a guaranteed spot as an opener for at least a season or 2. Vijay failed in the first test. Had he failed again he would have been definitely dropped. Fortunately for him, he kept his head down & slowly worked his way to huge innings. Pujara's example at the other end had a lot to do with his turn around. On the third test he carried on where he left & in a huge opening wkt. partnership with Dhawan. His century helped India win the test. In the 4th Test, he got another 50 to seal his spot as an opener. What brought this patience & concentration after the failure in the First test? Responsibility! He knew if he failed in the second test it was curtains for him. This sense of responsibility is needed in the entire Indian. Each One is individually responsible for his actions. Responsible Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin carried India to 4-0 series win!

  • GrindAR on March 28, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    It is good that Vijay performed well this series. Let reserve this kind of article when he shows consistency in say another 10-15 matches. The bad thing this kind of article could do to the player is, they will get carried away and their performance get degraded, because of the over confidence they develop (which is wrong on players part). Me too was happy to see his winning over his nerves and persist and mainly able to control his shots on merrit, which he lacked until Chennai test. Hope he continue to control his nerves as in the next series, he will be one of main targets for opposition, who will plan heavily on their wickets.

    He should be more retrospective until he reaches his consistency like say Dravid, Laxman, SRT and all. Lets give hime some empty space for him to sink in all these excitments and come back to his newly found rythm and control.

  • BrianPinto on March 28, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Wasim Jaffer is still better than him...

  • sss_m19 on March 28, 2013, 14:09 GMT

    "His fortunes with team India and his career depends on how well he adapts and performs overseas which would be known in the upcoming SA series"-I think that holds true for all the youngsters in the team..not only Vijay...

  • Bharath_the_Indian on March 28, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    Indians have never won a test series in SA, NEVER!!!

    Then why disprove Vijay's hardwork in the Australian series, Even Dravid averages just 25 in SA after 7 tours, So are you people going to say he is a bad player too..

  • KishorKumar25 on March 28, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    He will fail in SA. He will be good only in sub continent pitches.

  • on March 28, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    Yes the real test will come when he plays quality fast bowling on seaming tracks. He will have to tighten his defence when playing swinging pitched up deliveries at pace as he has tendency to get bowled or lbw while playing them.

  • TheGamerX on March 28, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Vijay's biggest test is going to be the next SA series. His fortunes with team India and his career depends on how well he adapts and performs overseas which would be known in the upcoming SA series.

  • dineshyaz on March 28, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    i think he has shown immense maturity during oz series......time will tell whether he can perform in abroad too..........pls publish this

  • jimbond on March 28, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Vijay is obviously a great player- ask the selectors who have kept faith in him despite several others performing better at the first class level. With the SA tour he is going to stamp his class and we are going to see the short pitched bowling of Steyn and Morkel being despatched to all corners of the boundary.

  • ramli on March 28, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Vijay has matured for sure ... after a brief distraction because of T20 needs ... he has been a steady opener for TN in the past ... during India duty too ... I hope that he carried forward this resolve of staying long at the crease in SA ... good luck

  • nkoch on March 28, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Vijay did well in home series. However, did you remember how he failed in away series of WI and Aus not too long ago? Let's wait and watch him against SA before calling him top notch guy. Looking at how he played short pitched deliveries from Siddle and Pattinson, I'm not quite sure he's there yet. Only time will tell!!

  • Naresh28 on March 28, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    Indias biggest problem in the failed overseas trips were how easily teams got openers out very quickly. To me this was the biggest downfall. Well our bowlers also took a hammering e.g. Cooks long innings however, our openers were not able to match the other teams.Lets wait and see how Dhawan/Vijay do overseas. Really excited to see.

  • on March 28, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    Vijay is your typical flat wicket bully.....he is surely gonna struggle in the bouncy pitches of SA.....i think it will be a matter of time till steyn and morkel make Vijay their bunny

  • Thyagu5432 on March 28, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    First things first, Vijay just didn't get the credit that he should have got in this series. Everybody were going gaga about Pujara and Dhawan ignoring Vijay completely. But I think Vijay deserves as much credit as the other two if not more for his wonderful showing in this series. Remember that he was under pressure to perform right from the word go. If he had failed in Hyderabad, it wouldn't have been bye-bye for him. Whereas Pujara was definitely not in that position and as far as Dhawan is concerned it was his debut test and surely would have got more opportunities. Moreover, Vijay had to try really hard to curb his aggressive instinct to succeed. In the past, he had become victim of his T20 style of batting even in test matches and ODIs. I think it was much more than just his batting abilities, he has (hopefully) developed mental strength as well to succeed in test matches. Hats off to Vijay!

  • on March 28, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    Vijay seems to have matured and mellowed a bit mentally from where he was when he debuted for India in tests 5 years ago. He however, still have to tighten his technique further to succeed consistently at test level. He is still very tentative against a ball bouncing and moving away on off and middle stumps. If he can improve his defense and play hook shots with control, he can provide India good opening partnerships outside India too. At the moment, India does not have many players who can challenge his place in the side. Vijay should seize this opportunity, work hard on his technique and do well on the SA tour.

  • guptahitesh4u on March 28, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    India will always remain a competitive side at homes as there are many batsmen to replace the seniors, however their performance outside sub-continent is something that will matter. I hope BCCI can plan something so that these youngsters (Pujara, Kohli, Vijay, Rahane, Dhawan) gets some chance to play on bouncy and swing pitches of England / SA more oftenly.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 28, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    Way to go. Unlike Pujara, he just started showing his ability to stick in the middle for a long time - which is essential for test cricket. Lets wait and see.

  • SamRoy on March 28, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    People easily forget the alarming number of times Vijay edged the ball behind the wicket only for the ball to fall short of wk or slip fielders. That's for starters. Secondly his back foot stroke play hasn't progressed one bit and it is important to a be a good back foot strokeplayer if one wants to succeed in SA or Australia. A failure in SA should not be the reason to drop him as I expect all Indian batsman to more or less fail, it is difficult to succeed their on your first tour to SA. Nobody except Dravid in 1997 has done that (and Dravid failed in his next 3 tours THERE). Also Philander, Steyn and Morkel form a great fast bowling line-up and averaging 35 there is like averaging 55 in India.

  • venkatesh018 on March 28, 2013, 5:20 GMT

    I am not sure he is long term Test opener. Past performances against quality quicks on seaming pitches suggests he is going to fail against strong bowling attacks like those of England, South Africa and Pakistan and Australia.

  • PRAMOD_2012 on March 28, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    Nobody is giving thought that Sehwag & Gambhir test carrier might have ended now.

  • ultimatewarrior on March 28, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    Agree with Chetan & Unmesh_cric but with my old theory that Indian Team should have 6 Teams for Slow Pitch T20/ODI/Test and Fast Pitch T20/ODI/Test Teams respectively.....Mind u I m not saying it shud have 66 diff. players but it should have player selected as per pitch & format essentially INSTEAD of recent form in different situation......For eg. please check M Vijay's old good performances against Australia in India, so that's why he was able to do better in this series also. Similarly Raina was able to do better in Tests in Srilanka but never played good enough in Non sub-continent pitches. Ravindra Jadeja(ODI) is another eg of a good subcontinent player and below avg player in outside subcontinent conditions....If India will identify his best 6 teams it will rule definitely more & better than Aus(1995 to 2010) & W Indies (1975-1990)....by best team I mean more focused players in respective conditions without being feared for dropping and knowing their limitations as well...

  • satishchandar on March 28, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    I feel Vijay looks more composed these days than he was ever before.. He had learnt to get back to come out of a series of dot balls.. Probably, the ineptness of Aussie attack after certain time helped him a lot which can't be expected in SA certainly.. But this guy gives a slight confidence that he might overcome with decent show there..

  • SamRoy on March 28, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    People easily forget the alarming number of times Vijay edged the ball behind the wicket only for the ball to fall short of wk or slip fielders. That's for starters. Secondly his back foot stroke play hasn't progressed one bit and it is important to a be a good back foot strokeplayer if one wants to succeed in SA or Australia. A failure in SA should not be the reason to drop him as I expect all Indian batsman to more or less fail, it is difficult to succeed their on your first tour to SA. Nobody except Dravid in 1997 has done that (and Dravid failed in his next 3 tours THERE). Also Philander, Steyn and Morkel form a great fast bowling line-up and averaging 35 there is like averaging 55 in India.

  • on March 28, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    Judgment reserved until he shows his prowess in SA.

  • on March 28, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Great temperament shown by this guy. I never imagined he would guts it out in test cricket like that. This is what is required from an Indian test player.

    To grind it out , to sweat , to work against your normal routines and work extremely hard and improve. Look results matter but for me attitude matters the most.

    Gambhir never ever worked to improve his deficiencies in his game and was stubborn and see where he is now. So good to see Kohli( post 2009-10 ) , and now Vijay work hard and come changed and hungry and willingness to change their games as per needs of team , hard work always pays off.

    Yes it is been 1 series only but for me his attitude has won my heart.

  • TATTUs on March 28, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    I think these multitude of write ups about Vijay is a bit over the top for me. I am not sure about his batting overseas. Sure He has developed the patience required for batting in India which he had lost by playing IPL. I am not so sure about him playing the same in South Africa.

  • AvidCricFan on March 28, 2013, 2:53 GMT

    He will succeed as long as he bats with patience (passive aggression). The virtue of his success was to control rash strokes he had gotten used to playing very early in the innings. Once he controlled that, he produced right results.

  • BoxOchocolates on March 28, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    If you look at Vijay's batting innings list over his entire career, he has always done well in the subcontinent and has fared very poorly abroad. His average in the sub-continent over 19 innings is 49.42 and his average outside the sub-continent over 8 innings is 12.5 . So, the real test would be how he performs in South Africa later this year. I am hopeful now, and will reserve my excitement until he performs abroad.

  • satishchandar on March 28, 2013, 2:38 GMT

    For the likes saying he need to prove abroad, no Indian opener actually proved abroad post Gavaskar.. Viru did have decent success in Australia and a bit in England and nothing in SA as opener but he wil lstill be the best opener except last couple of years.

    Even Pujara failed last time in SA. Fialing abroad is a concern but it wouldnt take away anything from the performance in the home tracks.

    The guys need to work on manufacturing shots in SA. With Philanders inclusion, You won't get much scoring deliveries with new ball and Steyn and Phily will serve more wicket deserving deliveries than any other attack in those conditions.. Chosing the right ball to attack is as crucial as tight defense in those conditions against that attack..

  • on March 28, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    I am sure there will be comments here on a constant basis whenever Vijay and Ashwin are discussed, trying to downplay their success. All men are equal, but some, more equal than others, goes a famous maxim. When people can enjoy Pujara's and Dhawan's success in the sub continent, why not Vijaya's?

    @Chetan Asher: Talking of Recklessness, Suresh Raina was a classic example. Why was he never accused of it? Sehwag is a prime example. He was glorified. If Shikhar Dhawan had got out attacking early, would you have said he was selfish? here is a man who carried India's batting for the series. give credit please, when it's due. he may do well in SA or he may not, that is not to detract what he did in this series. Enjoy the good performance and encourage.

    It is sad, Indians pull each other down so badly. When they win, they find umpteen excuses to demean the win (Spinning pitch, weak opposition, usual win at home) and when they lose, they make a huge fuss. Plus, they have regional divides.

  • SilentVoyager on March 27, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    With all due respect to Sharda Ugra, it has become customary to publish an article whenever a player hit a century or has taken 15-20 odd wickets in a series. I am not saying the efforts are ordinary, they are brilliant, indeed. But the same writer or a different one will come back immediately if the player fails in the immediate series. They start commenting about his weakness, what he needs to correct, etc. It is alright to do your job as a journalist. But like other people said here, give the guy a break. Let him perform consistently for at least a year. Then we can talk about him. But if you want to talk about him now, then don't come back and criticize if he fails in the next series. Every performance is important irrelevant of whether it is played home or overseas. Ricky Ponting is still a legendary batsman though he has a poor average in India. Please do not come back and criticize if Vijay fails in SA series, though I sincerely hope for the opposite to happen. All the best Vij

  • GRVJPR on March 27, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    All those who are saying that Murali Vijay needs to prove in South Africa must know that our technically best batsmen 'Rahul Dravid" averaged only 25 in South africa despite 7 tours. Openers (not only of India) have found it pretty difficult. The pitches that are doctored by south africa for India matches are extra spicy and even south african opener 'Graeme Smith' has a very poor record as an opener in mathces versus india played in south africa. So if Dravid and Smith can struggle, but accepted as good players, Why not Vijay and other young Indian players. It will be a learning curve!

  • samincolumbia on March 27, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    He is a flat track bully who got lucky when Pattinson could not play in Mohali. On foreign pitches, he will struggle to get double digits, forget a century.

  • BnH1985Fan on March 27, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    Agree with some of my fellow posters here -- Unmesh-cric, Anand Singh, Thyrsaadam and sk12 -- it's just one series. Certainly someone who can play well at home is great. Even better is someone who is reliable home and away. The new ball does a lot more in SA, Oz / NZ and England. Those places should provide a better assessment of Vijay's really capability. In any event, I am happy Viru bhai and Gauti are history. RIP -- the two provided great service to India in their prime.

  • on March 27, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    Don't praise him too much. He was in form as well, when he debuted last time to India, and IPL spoiled him. Hope similar thing wont happen again.

  • on March 27, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    Indian supporters need to be careful with M Vijay. He has demonstrated in the 2nd innings of the last test that he is selfish. Till his position in team India was secured, he showed us all how good he can be. Once his position became secure, he donated his wicket to India's opposition, risking a test match for India (showing the world that he can reverse-sweep became more important than being part of a winning team for him ?) Kapil Dev, no less was penalised for recklessness. We are all watching to see what Dhoni, N Srinivasan & S Patil will do to M Vijay of Chennai Super Kings for risking a match. Kohli & Pujara undid the damage, but what if they went to unplayable deliveries ?

  • Unmesh_cric on March 27, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    He has had ONE good series. Don't hype it up too much. If he plays well for this ENTIRE year, then you can talk about "M Vijay-2013" and his "transformation". Good luck to Vijay though. I hope he does well and becomes a long term Test opener for India.

  • on March 27, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    let us wait for the SA series and see if he still continues to perform . majority have their doubts but would be great to be proven wrong..but it wont happen :)

  • ThyrSaadam on March 27, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    Need to prove it overseas. One aspect that will help him is his new ability to graft which is more so important than scoring as fast.

  • sk12 on March 27, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    I am a Vijay fan alright.. but dont think he warrents such a big tribute article.. atleast not as yet..

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 27, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    He's a fine player with the right mentality to succeed at test level. He can play cautiously as well as attack if the situation demands it. Looking forward to his exploits overseas. God bless.

  • Cpt.Meanster on March 27, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    He's a fine player with the right mentality to succeed at test level. He can play cautiously as well as attack if the situation demands it. Looking forward to his exploits overseas. God bless.

  • sk12 on March 27, 2013, 18:49 GMT

    I am a Vijay fan alright.. but dont think he warrents such a big tribute article.. atleast not as yet..

  • ThyrSaadam on March 27, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    Need to prove it overseas. One aspect that will help him is his new ability to graft which is more so important than scoring as fast.

  • on March 27, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    let us wait for the SA series and see if he still continues to perform . majority have their doubts but would be great to be proven wrong..but it wont happen :)

  • Unmesh_cric on March 27, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    He has had ONE good series. Don't hype it up too much. If he plays well for this ENTIRE year, then you can talk about "M Vijay-2013" and his "transformation". Good luck to Vijay though. I hope he does well and becomes a long term Test opener for India.

  • on March 27, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    Indian supporters need to be careful with M Vijay. He has demonstrated in the 2nd innings of the last test that he is selfish. Till his position in team India was secured, he showed us all how good he can be. Once his position became secure, he donated his wicket to India's opposition, risking a test match for India (showing the world that he can reverse-sweep became more important than being part of a winning team for him ?) Kapil Dev, no less was penalised for recklessness. We are all watching to see what Dhoni, N Srinivasan & S Patil will do to M Vijay of Chennai Super Kings for risking a match. Kohli & Pujara undid the damage, but what if they went to unplayable deliveries ?

  • on March 27, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    Don't praise him too much. He was in form as well, when he debuted last time to India, and IPL spoiled him. Hope similar thing wont happen again.

  • BnH1985Fan on March 27, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    Agree with some of my fellow posters here -- Unmesh-cric, Anand Singh, Thyrsaadam and sk12 -- it's just one series. Certainly someone who can play well at home is great. Even better is someone who is reliable home and away. The new ball does a lot more in SA, Oz / NZ and England. Those places should provide a better assessment of Vijay's really capability. In any event, I am happy Viru bhai and Gauti are history. RIP -- the two provided great service to India in their prime.

  • samincolumbia on March 27, 2013, 22:53 GMT

    He is a flat track bully who got lucky when Pattinson could not play in Mohali. On foreign pitches, he will struggle to get double digits, forget a century.

  • GRVJPR on March 27, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    All those who are saying that Murali Vijay needs to prove in South Africa must know that our technically best batsmen 'Rahul Dravid" averaged only 25 in South africa despite 7 tours. Openers (not only of India) have found it pretty difficult. The pitches that are doctored by south africa for India matches are extra spicy and even south african opener 'Graeme Smith' has a very poor record as an opener in mathces versus india played in south africa. So if Dravid and Smith can struggle, but accepted as good players, Why not Vijay and other young Indian players. It will be a learning curve!