Gutted, but optimistic of making a comeback, says Vijay

Indian opener Murali Vijay is optimistic of making a comeback to the national team.

Murali Vijay has been rather unlucky with selection of late. He had looked distinctly better than the out of touch K.L. Rahul in Australia. Yet, when India reverted to a second specialist opener for the fourth Test against Australia in Sydney, it was not Vijay but Rahul who was picked.   -  AFP

Murali Vijay was emotional. You could see the pain in his eyes. The cut, it seemed, ran deep.

“I feel hurt that I am not a part a part of the Indian team. I am not disappointed. But really hurt,” Vijay told Sportstar here on Thursday.

Vijay’s mind travelled back to the days before the Melbourne Test against Australia late last year. “I expected to play the Test. In fact, I was sure I would play the Test. I had batted well in the second innings of the second Test at Perth. I felt I was only one innings away from form.”

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The experienced opener said, “I deserved that one chance in the Boxing Day Test. I was full of hope and optimism ahead of the Test.”

- Feeling the vibes -

How did Vijay learn that he would not be figuring in the crucial third Test? “From the vibes I got on the day before the eve of the Melbourne Test. I could sense it from the way the practice session and the nets were shaping out. I was devastated.”

And when India got middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari to open with debutant Mayank Agarwal in Melbourne, Vijay must have felt gutted.

Interestingly, India captain Virat Kohli lavished praise on Vihari for playing 66 deliveries for his eight runs on the first day at the MCG. “It’s about blunting the new ball,” he said.

But then, Vijay had negotiated 67 deliveries for his 20 runs at Perth. Had he, too, not blunted the new ball?

Vijay said, “People don’t know or understand me. I don’t see myself competing or feeling threatened by the newcomers. Two years back, I said Prithvi Shaw would play for the country. I am happy for them.”

- Unlucky -

Vijay has been rather unlucky with selection of late. He had looked distinctly better than the out of touch K.L. Rahul in Australia. Yet, when India reverted to a second specialist opener for the fourth Test in Sydney, it was not Vijay but Rahul who was picked.

Vijay said, “I have scored nearly 4,000 Test runs for the country, I must be pretty good to have done that. I have made runs in difficult conditions, in England and Australia. And I came through a period when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were there. I don’t feel intimidated by competition.”

“I will play till my heart tells me to play, you can’t take that away from me. I am fit and only 34. I have more Test cricket left in me. Lately, I have been receiving some good deliveries. Then, there have been other factors,” he added.

“I will have my moments again for India,” he said, signing off on an optimistic note.