Vijay: 'Forward press didn't work for me'

Murali Vijay, who has made runs in different conditions, opening the innings for India, discusses his technique and temparament that have enabled to perform well against the toughest of oppositions.

Murali Vijay's confidence, opening the batting, stem from, both, his mind and technique.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

He has the name of his son and daughter, Nivaan and Eva, tattooed on his right arm. And words 'Luv Mom' are inscribed on his left biceps.

Then, on his forearm is the number 260, indicating his order of appearance as an India Test player.

Murali Vijay doesn't hide what inspires him as he pursues cricketing glory in "all formats."

Recovering from finger and shoulder injuries after training and rehab sessions at the National Cricket Academy, Bangalore, the opener is ready for the upcoming one-off Test against Bangladesh and the four-Test series versus Australia.

In a chat with Sportstar, here on Friday, Vijay travelled to the heart of his batsmanship – technique.

Asked about an aspect of his game that he is working on, Vijay said, "It is my balance at the crease, the essence really."

The 32-year-old Vijay revealed the "forward press", an initial movement that he attempted against England, did not really blend with his style of batting.

He said, "I did forward press against England in a couple of Tests and it did not work for me. I was getting into trouble when the ball bounced. Then I got back to my usual back and across movement."

Vijay, so adept at 'leaving' the ball but an engaging stroke-maker nevertheless, said, "Good footwork, stable head, and bat swing are key elements. I have really worked on getting the swing of the bat straight."

The Indian opener highlighted the importance of transfer of weight. "I have been a good back-foot player. Getting deep into your crease helps you but you cannot always do that when people bowl at 145 kmph. What you do then is to transfer your weight, effectively, whether to the front foot or the back."

Someone who has made runs in different conditions, whether in Australia, England, and South Africa, Vijay said, "Your stance is where it all begins. I do make subtle adjustments. For instance, when I bat in Australia where the bounce is more, I stand more upright. In India, where the ball doesn't bounce as much, I am more crouched so that I get on top of the ball."

As an opener, he doesn't have the luxury of knowing how the pitch will behave. "Adjusting your footwork to the pitch at the start of an innings on day one as an opener can be hard. The best is to always look for the full ball. Your natural instincts will take care of the short delivery."

He, however, does relish the challenges that come with the 'opening' territory. "I like the X-factor and so many uncertainties associated with opening. It keeps me going. One of the great satisfactions you get is after gritting your teeth and fighting your way through fiery spells, bad sessions," he said.

Vijay added, "If you get out early while opening, you got to stay in the pavilion all day. I don't like doing that."

He is keen to find a stable opening partner – he has good words for K. L. Rahul. Vijay also appreciated comeback opener Abhinav Mukund's belief and persistence.

Meanwhile, Vijay awaits Mitchell Starc's thunderbolts with typical confidence that stem from, both, his mind and technique.

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