M Vijay April 13, 2010

'Don't call me Murali'

Interview by N Hunter
The Chennai Super Kings opener on how he should be addressed, his most embarrassing moment on the field, what he can do that Dhoni can't, and more

There seems to be a lot of confusion about your first name.
My name is Vijay. Many South Indians don't have surnames as such. So I hate it when people address me as "Murali" [his father's name]. I usually start a press conference by making that clear.

What about your nickname, Monk? How did that come about?
It is a little too personal.

Tell us.
Maybe people feel I am a calm person. Maybe because I shaved my head once.

Have you ever tried meditation?

You were born on April 1. You must suffer a lot of April Fools' jokes?
I pull a lot of them myself. But it is a good date [to have as a birthday], since everyone remembers it.

What is the best compliment you have got from a team-mate?
Recently Matthew Hayden said he really appreciates the hard work I've been putting into my cricket. Even Mike Hussey mentioned that. Those were big pats on the back.

What is the one thing you can do that MS Dhoni cannot?
I can walk on the streets any time I wish. He can't.

Which Tamil Nadu cricketer speaks Hindi fluently?
No one. That is what the Hindi-speaking players on the circuit feel. Only Dinesh [Karthik] can manage some Hindi.

Whose autograph did you desperately want as a youngster?
Kamal Hasan [Tamil cinema icon] was one actor I really wanted to meet when I was young. I am not a movie buff but I haven't missed any of his movies since my teen years.

You started playing cricket at 17?
Do you think it is late?

Your dad is your best friend, we are told?
I don't normally interact much with people. I have learnt a lot from my dad, especially how to handle tough situations in life. He gives me a lot of strength. He is a simple guy who doesn't need much.

What is the biggest thing you have given your parents?

Is there a game from cricket history where you wanted to be the player who turned the match?
Sachin Tendulkar's 136 against Pakistan in Chepauk in 1999, in the second innings. He had a back spasm, but the intensity with which he batted was a great learning experience. It was the first time I watched a Test in a stadium. His balance, his concentration levels on a wicket that was turning square, the way he applied himself against a quality bowling attack, were unforgettable. Every time I watch the innings, I learn something. I still recollect when Saqlain Mushtaq got him out, caught by Wasim Akram - I walked out of the stadium because I could not bear him being dismissed.

"I still recollect when Saqlain Mushtaq got Sachin Tendulkar out in the Chennai Test of 1999 - I walked out of the stadium because I could not bear him being dismissed"

Do you collect anything?
I used to collect Sportstar magazine posters. Recently my photo was on the cover page and it made me really happy. I also keep all my bats - at the moment I have about 50-plus in my storeroom.

We hear you flunked your class 12 [senior year] in school?
How did you get that information? Yes, it is true. But then I went on to get an MBA, so I am not embarrassed about it. I haven't got anything easily, and that has always motivated me to do well.

Do you have any tattoos?
I have got three. One, on the inside of my left bicep, has my Test number inked on it. I don't want to reveal where the other two are!

If you were playing in a World Cup final, what would you write on the white board in the dressing room on the day of the game?
"Take the challenge head on. Enjoy the moment."

What's the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on the field?
In my debut first-class match, Ishant Sharma, who was also playing his maiden Ranji Trophy game, managed to hit me in the box. It was very chilly at the Feroz Shah Kotla and I was cramping badly for the rest of the day. And the worst part was, I could not tell anybody about the discomfort.

Is there a bowler, from any era, you would like to face?
Glenn McGrath and Curtly Ambrose - unfortunately both are retired.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Karthikeyan on April 15, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    @Baboojaan: His name is Vijay and not Murali... Murali is his father's name... Many people outside tamil nadu don't know that a majority of Tamil people don't have surnames... he's not ashames of it but it'll be odd when somebody calls him by his father's name instead of his name... I've faced this situation myself as I live in hyderabad and many people call me by my father's name and think that my real name is my surname... anyway, what's in a name :)

  • Usman on April 15, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    Slightly disturbing about his other two tattoos.

  • ramu on April 14, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    too bad MURALI BOY..your parents give you that name, well use it..you are embarassed about that name?..then change it!

  • sundar on April 14, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    hi vijay this is one of ur fan from madurai hope u knw abt madurai city we need consistency performance from u hope u do tat congrats all the best for ur future regards one of the MDCA [Madurai ditrict cricket association] player

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    wowww... a guy who flunked his +2 is a master class player now... great.... cum on vijay u rokkk...

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    He should be batting at no 6 for the current Indian Test team(instead of yuvraj). He being a opener it will be easy for him to face the second new ball. After the seniors retire he can move up the order.

  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    Well Done Machi!

    Not only me but also the entire Tamizh Naadu is proud of you!

    When we talk among our friends after watching your early innings both in Tests and ODIs, we used to say "Kandippa Vijay team-ku varuvaanda!!", your game gave us that much of confidence!!

    Again you have proved that you are fit for any format!

    I can never forget your 127 Buddy!! that too after scoring the century, we saw you kissing your bicep!! oh, what a moment!!!

    We wish you all success! We would like to see you wearing the Orange cap soon, Hit another CENTURY machan!!!

    "Thamizhan endru sollada, Thala nimirndhu nillada"

    Vijays Always Rock!!!


  • Dummy4 on April 14, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    Come on Vijay... you have been consistent which is good, but pal you have set more expectations now..hehe... As you said there is nothing to be embarrassed about flunking in high school, since u r not doing phd.. u play Cricket, that too GOOD CRICKET !!!

  • Varadarajan on April 13, 2010, 23:05 GMT

    He comes across very humble. He should try to follow Sachin in this. By his form in IPL he can hope to become regular opener or one drop for India. Good luck to him.

  • Dummy4 on April 13, 2010, 22:17 GMT

    cool vijay. you rock!!! I am proud that i was playing in your team once.. :) (At adarsh)

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