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
38

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?
Never.

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?
Happiness.

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

  • Gk16 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 :)

  • osee_bhai on April 15, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    Slightly disturbing about his other two tattoos.

  • BigGeorgeMehemood 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_83 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

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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!!!

    -Boobalan

  • 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 !!!

  • Suresh_Sydney 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.

  • on April 13, 2010, 22:17 GMT

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

  • Gk16 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 :)

  • osee_bhai on April 15, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    Slightly disturbing about his other two tattoos.

  • BigGeorgeMehemood 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_83 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

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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!!!

    -Boobalan

  • 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 !!!

  • Suresh_Sydney 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.

  • on April 13, 2010, 22:17 GMT

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

  • Gappy on April 13, 2010, 20:45 GMT

    What about your nickname, Monk? How did that come about? It is a little too personal. **** A good guess - When I was in college, Old Monk was a very big thing for us: Maybe M.Vijay loves it! Whaadaplaya!

  • on April 13, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    In the manner Murali Vijay has scored runs in this IPL, the selectors haven't got the 20-20 world cup squad right. He should have been in, as should have been Virat Kohli. They could have left out some luggage.

  • Tawloo on April 13, 2010, 19:36 GMT

    Well done, machi!

    Me was in Chepauk 1999 as well, same emotions...

    Well then, u know media, they can be merciless when one fails! There's an article on Sehwag today, what a pity!

    All that matters is runs on the scoreboard, trophies in hand... well nothing new but...

    I predict you'll be on Koffee with Anu soon :)

  • on April 13, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    Congrags Vijay and may u have a bright future in indian cricket. Its been a long time since some quality players from chennai entering in to the big arena and as a loyal fan of CSK i would like to see u in our Indian jersey. Its tough that u was not selected for the world cup squad never mind after all it is going to come again in a couple of yrs hope u get a break in the ODI world cup.Good luck for that.

    @kiraneksl u r rite man when some one is called MONK and particularly namma chennai it is offcourse our OLD MONK. Vijay u can bluff to the press not to us after all every local from chennai knows that- cheers mate

  • SRAM20 on April 13, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    Solid answers! Love his 'feet on the ground' attitude. MBA and into cricket? WOW! Even Ashwin is an engineer (not sure if its software or electrical) and he is playing cricket. Most of the Tamil guys get good education before they pursue their dreams. I can understand Vijay's pain abt that 1999 Pakistan test. I cried when India lost after Sachin scored a masterpiece 136. Was a 14 yr old back then.

  • knowledge_eater on April 13, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    Phew... finally, that would have shut up many mouth. I still remember, people were going all over him, when he was debuted in test. Now, he has def. shut up many people, who always question of selection. India has more than 1.2 billion people, and around million wants to become cricketer. Its not fluke that people get in to squad. They play well, they get chance. Thats why all formats should be respected. I still reckon India can afford 30 different players in diff. formats (Test ODI t20) and still do decent performance. You have to give them time, thats all. Take care of your health. Play at least 15 years of cricket, I am sure you can get success. Vijay is deff. one of the rare one who can play all formats. Your 11th and 12th questions answered many questions, and really showing why are successful, there is nothing better than respecting parents, whole world can go wrong. Good Luck Vijay.

  • ARad on April 13, 2010, 17:54 GMT

    If Vijay continues putting work into his cricket (facing short balls...?) and keep a cool head, he could set his ambition high. He may become one of the best players of his generation and a role model for future generations like his idol Tendulkar. That is how much potential he has.

    I can also completely understand his first name frustrations being a Tamil (in NY).

  • kiranksl on April 13, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    Coming from Chennai myself...I think I might know what 'Monk' refers to...it comes from everyone's fav. drink from there...OLD MONK!!!

    Possibly the reason our man flunked his 12th ;)

    In the big picture it doesn't matter cuz he bats like a dream!

    Keep going machi!

  • Ganes.V on April 13, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    Good one. We all have some good memories like these which is good to re visit them if we do.But I feel that this IPL has changed him a lot - for good. He has to make sure that this success doesn't get into his head. I thought for a while that it did especially when he took the catch of Sachin in the match Vs. Mumbai- after Sachin returned to bat after retiring early! The action which he showed after taking the catch with a few steps forward doesn't show that he loved Sachin that much to that extend that he walked out of the Stadium when Saqlain dismissed him in '99.Anyway he is a good prospect for Indian cricket's future and is sure to be a permanent member for quite some time- if he takes care. I wish him all the best for every thing in future

  • on April 13, 2010, 15:06 GMT

    u rock dude ! hope u make it big in the international arena! i like ur classical technique!

  • s0ldier on April 13, 2010, 14:54 GMT

    Vijay is the future of Indian batting - no doubt about it. He's technically correct and seems to have a matured head on his shoulders and is a brilliant fielder. I would love to see him excel! He conducts himself very well on the field! Good luck - would love to see you don the Indian cap regularly.

  • adarshjose27 on April 13, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    Good to see that he is confident and focussed. If he can keep it going, he'll be India's next Rahul Dravid !

  • mrxxx on April 13, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    he's a gud batsman...nd a future star 2..but against the shrt ball!! he's no up to the mark....apart frm tht no probss...

  • Alexk400 on April 13, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    Key for Murali Vijay to be successful is lift 200-300kg weights and strong physically. He has technique. Now all you need is he has to play with 40% of his energy to get consistent play. If anyone play with their 100% energy , they fail consistently. So if he increase his strength he can be good and keep humble look like tendulkar. Because it is a must when you want to be better than sachin. That is goal you need to set for yourself. Success breed success. So put a value on your wicket on TEST and be explosive in ODI / T20 with calculated assaults.

  • Udhatya on April 13, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    Does Monk refer to the college where he did is under graduation ? Awesome player Man !

  • on April 13, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    Murali Vijay, Robin Uthappa, Amit Mishra and Naman Ojha should have been there in the Indian Team for the t20 world cup.

  • Karunen_Ramsamy on April 13, 2010, 10:53 GMT

    I think Vijay is an excellent batsmen that should open for India. Seems to have a very calm and collected head on his shoulders.

  • on April 13, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    GOOD..!! Good to see u in the INDIAN Team man., Really proud of u..!! Chennai Rockkz

    My wishes for u ., get on pats are there to continue,.,.! ;)

  • Alexk400 on April 13, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    I do not like him before...but i started to change my opinion on him. He wants to win. He shows intention to attack and be aggressive. Need to hide his emotion though. It shows weakness. Bowlers can exploit it.

  • on April 13, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    Vijay and Rohit look the best bet in the new generation of batsmen. Only hope Vijay converts his chances unlike Rohit who is very inconsistent

  • Philip_Gnana on April 13, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    Nice piece here. I enjoyed reading this. Being modest in saying that he can walk anywhere he please at any time. I hope he will be able to do that considering the talent he has. Keep up the good work Vijay. Attacking cricket and classical strokes to all in one. Philip Gnana, New Malden, Surrey

  • pappusudhafantasy on April 13, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    Good view and these are the views that we look for during (inter)views. The Viru-Gauti way. Hope to see this one vie for the test spot from the three available after 2011 and fill in the shoes of VVS.

  • ABP235 on April 13, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    If there is one cricketer who is achieving success purely on his merit and despite all blames put on his selection (due to his statemate Srikkanth being the chairman of selectors), it is MURALI VIJAY. The moment I saw him play his first test match, I was sure that this guy had to be a permanent fixture in Indian opening lineup. But I wondered if this kid will lose his chances due to Sehwag and Gambhir being the first choices. The way he has adapted himself to the shortest version is worth millions for us. Going forward, Vijay will be the superstar opener for India - be it the test, ODI or T20. Amazing guy, way to go buddy, you deserve every luck and prayer coming your way to succeed in Indian cricket. Even if you have immense talent and less luck is pretty sad affair and now I see that you have both. By the way, at some time in my life, I used to collect Sportstar posters in my native Mangalore! Reading Sportstar and sports books used to win me sports quizzes at college!!!

  • rtom on April 13, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    probably Mvijay is the only guy in teh young indian players who would say " I wanted to face Curtley Ambrose !!! great Vijay.. go on and on..

  • on April 13, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    I think this kid will go places very soon as he will be a permanent opener for the Indian Test side, and he deserves it.

  • royalg on April 13, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    wat a legend vijay murali is :P keep doing the hardwork my frnd it will pay up soon big time. u hav a lot to offer for indian cricket.

  • on April 13, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    A wonderful interview. Thanks for the work Cricinfo guys.

  • Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on April 13, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    down to earth fella like most other chennaites! way to go Vijay

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on April 13, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    down to earth fella like most other chennaites! way to go Vijay

  • on April 13, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    A wonderful interview. Thanks for the work Cricinfo guys.

  • royalg on April 13, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    wat a legend vijay murali is :P keep doing the hardwork my frnd it will pay up soon big time. u hav a lot to offer for indian cricket.

  • on April 13, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    I think this kid will go places very soon as he will be a permanent opener for the Indian Test side, and he deserves it.

  • rtom on April 13, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    probably Mvijay is the only guy in teh young indian players who would say " I wanted to face Curtley Ambrose !!! great Vijay.. go on and on..

  • ABP235 on April 13, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    If there is one cricketer who is achieving success purely on his merit and despite all blames put on his selection (due to his statemate Srikkanth being the chairman of selectors), it is MURALI VIJAY. The moment I saw him play his first test match, I was sure that this guy had to be a permanent fixture in Indian opening lineup. But I wondered if this kid will lose his chances due to Sehwag and Gambhir being the first choices. The way he has adapted himself to the shortest version is worth millions for us. Going forward, Vijay will be the superstar opener for India - be it the test, ODI or T20. Amazing guy, way to go buddy, you deserve every luck and prayer coming your way to succeed in Indian cricket. Even if you have immense talent and less luck is pretty sad affair and now I see that you have both. By the way, at some time in my life, I used to collect Sportstar posters in my native Mangalore! Reading Sportstar and sports books used to win me sports quizzes at college!!!

  • pappusudhafantasy on April 13, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    Good view and these are the views that we look for during (inter)views. The Viru-Gauti way. Hope to see this one vie for the test spot from the three available after 2011 and fill in the shoes of VVS.

  • Philip_Gnana on April 13, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    Nice piece here. I enjoyed reading this. Being modest in saying that he can walk anywhere he please at any time. I hope he will be able to do that considering the talent he has. Keep up the good work Vijay. Attacking cricket and classical strokes to all in one. Philip Gnana, New Malden, Surrey

  • on April 13, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    Vijay and Rohit look the best bet in the new generation of batsmen. Only hope Vijay converts his chances unlike Rohit who is very inconsistent

  • Alexk400 on April 13, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    I do not like him before...but i started to change my opinion on him. He wants to win. He shows intention to attack and be aggressive. Need to hide his emotion though. It shows weakness. Bowlers can exploit it.