Vijay Zol: ‘Just a matter of one innings’

Once touted as the next bright star of Indian cricket, Maharashtra cricketer Vijay Zol now faces a challenge to save his career, after being dropped from the state Ranji Trophy team.

India's former under-19 captain Vijay Zol is ready to bounce back after being dropped from Maharashtra Ranji Trophy squad.   -  Vivek Bendre

Like a fading superstar looking for a single hit to reignite his falling star value, an out-of-form cricketer looks desperately for one innings to get back to form. But as the wait for the breakthrough innings becomes longer, desperation and self doubt creeps in. Some give up easily, while others soldier, banking on the confidence given by people who have faith in their ability.

Former India Under-19 captain Vijay Zol’s career graph has taken a dip and he is facing his first big test. The promising batsman is undergoing a lean patch which saw him lose his place in the Maharashtra Ranji Trophy squad for this season. It is bitter pill to swallow for someone who was touted as one of the brightest stars of Indian cricket when he exploded into the scene with a quadruple hundred in Cooch Behar Trophy. “It is a matter of just one innings. I know I haven't done well so far. I haven't scored a fifty. But I know a big innings is just around the corner. I am not bothered by criticism, I know my game pretty well. I am confident of my ability. I have worked hard and it is just a matter of time to turn things around,” Vijay said.

But two years ago, Vijay Hari Zol had everything going his way. Vijay climbed the rungs rather quickly after a dream start and was made India under-19 captain. He led the side astutely and the team won four trophies under him. But India came out a cropper in the one tournament which mattered, the Under-19 World Cup, where it was knocked out in the quarterfinals.

Vijay Zol still lives with the disappointment though he claims he has recovered from it. “Considering the team we had and the good run we had before the tournament, we should have won the tournament. But cricket is a funny game and you cannot predict anything. Looking back, it was a disappointment,” he said.

Vijay Zol was fast-tracked into the Maharashtra Ranji Trophy squad and he had a rousing start to his career with a century. A contract with Royal Challengers was a natural progression.

“The IPL was a great experience. I was wide eyed seeing superstars from close quarters. Sharing dressing room with modern greats like De Villiers and Virat Kohli was something which would stay with me for rest of my life,” he said.

But somewhere Vijay Zol lost his zing. Injuries and string of poor scores saw him relegated to the under-23 squad this season. “I have done the hard work in the nets with my coach. There is nothing wrong with my technique. I have never lived in the past and always looked towards the future with hope. My father, who is a huge inspiration, has also backed me to perform. I feel failures have made me stronger as a cricketer. I know I have to keep performing and things will fall in place hopefully,” he added.

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