IPL 2019: Murali Vijay takes fresh guard for Chennai Super Kings

The 35-year-old Vijay, another veteran from the old CSK setup, was included in the game against Mumbai Indians on Friday.

Murali Vijay made a comeback after having played one match in the last IPL.   -  R.V. MOORTHY

When you think of Murali Vijay today, the first thing that comes to mind is his judgement in Test cricket. He is known for leaving the balls outside off to perfection. But when he was young, he also had a strong grip on T20 cricket.

Chennai Super Kings values its players, specially the ones who have been instrumental in its success stories from the early days. Vijay is one of them.

After sitting out 11 games, the seasoned campaigner [2,553 IPL runs including two centuries] was included in the clash against Mumbai Indians at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium on Friday.

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It is not a sudden start for the veteran as he was being secretly prepared by the CSK support staff to cover up for injuries, overseas departures or loss of form.

“Vijay is batting like a dream [at the nets]. He is rated very highly. He is waiting eagerly for an opportunity,” CSK batting coach Michael Hussey revealed on the eve of the match.

“He has been hitting the ball beautifully. He couldn’t squeeze in due to the balance of the side. If something is needed and we need to bring somebody from the bench, he is there. We know we have a quality player coming.”

When CSK picked its players on its return to IPL in 2018 after a two-year suspension, it recalled most of the impact players from the old batch.

Vijay had appeared in only one game scoring 12. It was his first game since IPL 2016, when he represented Kings XI Punjab.