Ranji Trophy: Vijay pulls out of Tamil Nadu's Q/F tie

Murali Vijay has joined India team-mate Ravichandran Ashwin in ruling himself out of Tamil Nadu's Ranji Trophy quarterfinal scheduled to begin on Friday in Visakhapatnam. Vijay has not recovered fully from a strain on his shoulder.

Murali Vijay strained his shoulder during the fifth Test against England in Chennai.   -  PTI

India opener Murali Vijay, too, will not be part of the Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy team for the big game against Karnataka. Earlier off-spinning all-rounder R. Ashwin had >conveyed his non-availability for the quarterfinal owing to fitness concerns. The contest begins here on Friday.

Vijay, who hurt his shoulder while fielding during the fifth Test against England in Chennai, informed the authorities that he required more time to recover fully.

Both Ashwin and Vijay had been included in the Tamil Nadu squad. The State selectors have not named a replacement for Ashwin but roped in young left-hand opener Ganga Sridhar Raju in place of Vijay.

Meanwhile, all the three Karnataka cricketers who were in the Indian Test squad during the series against England will figure in the game here. Among them, Karun Nair made a >marauding triple-century at the expense of the hapless England attack at Chepauk; K. L. Rahul >missed what would have been a stroke-filled double hundred by a run. Manish Pandey, though, did not get a game in the series.

Karnataka coach J. Arun Kumar said to Sportstar, “Manish is already here with the team, while Rahul and Karun will join the side tomorrow.”He added, “The boys are looking forward to the game against Tamil Nadu. They are all fired up. We are at full strength.”

Arun Kumar, however, felt the absence of Vijay and Ashwin would take something away from the contest. “We would have liked Vijay and Ashwin to play for Tamil Nadu.”

'Interesting pitch'

Both teams practised here on Wednesday. “There is around 4mm grass on the pitch. We will have a better look at the track tomorrow,” noted Arun Kumar. Tamil Nadu bowling coach L. Balaji also said there was some grass on the surface. “It looks an interesting pitch,” he said.

Dwelling on the absence of Vijay and Ashwin, Balaji said, “We are obviously disappointed that they are not here. But we have been on the road for more than 70 days in this Ranji Trophy campaign without them and done very well as a team. We are confident we can pull this off without them.”

Asked about the ominous form of Karnataka batsmen such as Karun and Rahul, Balaji said, “At the end of the day it is a batsman against a bowler. You need to take the name away from the batsman and focus on what you need to do as a bowler. Our young bowling combination has done very well this season.”

Balaji said he would want the Tamil Nadu cricketers to enjoy the game. “They should go out and relish the challenges of playing in a pressure contest. These are the kind of matches that makes cricketers.”