Test comeback not top priority for Vijay

India international Murali Vijay says he doesn’t look forward to playing for India all the time, he plays cricket for passion.

Murali Vijay at the Junior Super Kings event in Chennai on Saturday.   -  K.V. Srinivasan

Getting dropped in the middle of a tour is not a good feeling for a seasoned cricketer. And it happened twice with Murali Vijay in a span of four months. He didn’t have the runs to back his case in England and Australia but all that is past tense now.

The new Vijay, well-prepared and supremely fit at 35, has grown out of uncertainties regarding Team India selection. The out-of-favour Test opener has fine-tuned his game for opportunities beyond the requirements of the national team.

“I play cricket for the sheer passion for it. I don’t look forward to playing for India all the time. My funda is to play cricket at a level which gives me competition and I enjoy that; any cricket is good for me and I will be looking forward to contribute for the teams I am playing for,” Vijay said on the sidelines of a Junior Super Kings event here on Saturday.

READ: Murali Vijay to play for English county side Somerset

Reading the demands of professional cricket, Vijay rediscovered his T20 acumen earlier this year. He scored two fifties and a hundred for Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. 

The right-hander did not get enough chances in the Chennai Super Kings XI but the coaches kept him ready. Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey, who is referred to as Mr Cricket for his technical and coaching knowledge, kept backing him in the Super Kings setup. 

The T20 preparation reflected in the hyper-local Tamil Nadu Premier League where he ended up smashing three fifties and a hundred. It gave him the much needed momentum. 

“Momentum is what we do personally. One needs to understand the importance of momentum and you can only do that by playing and doing something [in the middle]. You can’t just sit and create momentum,” explained Vijay, who also earned a Somerset call-up last week for the final three Specsavers County Championship matches of the season.

Vijay had featured for Essex last season scoring over 320 runs at an average of 64.60.

‘No pressure’

The cricketer is under no pressure to prove his worth at the moment. “Opportunities create more experience and I am looking forward to it. It is the same thing what I have been doing over a period of 15 years. I don’t put any limitations to my brain. I have made four comebacks in the Indian cricket team. I know how to do it.”

Being a senior cricketer, he understands that he adds value to a side for experience. “I want to make the team win where I play for, that gives me immense satisfaction and get the youngsters in the right mindset. These are the contributions I can make in cricket, not only personally think of going for India and playing again. It is a team sport,” he said.

After the county stint, Vijay is expected to join the Tamil Nadu side for the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2019-20 that starts September 24.