India comes first for Vijay

Like Murali Vijay, star all-rounder R. Ashwin played with sports hernia in the Test series against Australia and then sat out of the IPL. The message is - country comes first.

Vijay: 'The pride I get in playing for the country in the whites is above everything else'.   -  Getty Images

Batting legend Rahul Dravid’s decision to renew his contract with the India-A and under-19 teams as coach for two years at the expense of his time with an IPL franchise is commendable.

This comes at a time when many cricketers across countries are prioritising playing in the cash-rich Twenty20 leagues ahead of representing their country. 

In Indian cricket too, there have been occasions when some leading cricketers have played in the IPL carrying injuries and then were not available for India as they tended to their fitness concerns.

Murali Vijay is an exception though. The right-handed opener played the Test series against Australia with an injured wrist, then underwent surgery and missed the entire IPL season.

Talking to The Hindu, Vijay said, “Money is important but it is not everything. You got to be honest with yourself and put your hand up for the country in tough times.” He added, “Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than representing India, the pride I get in playing for the country in the whites is above everything else. That motivated me to put my pain aside and play the series against Australia.”

How big a decision was it for Vijay to undergo a surgery despite the looming IPL-10? Vijay replied, “Not really. I was pretty clear of the road ahead of me for the next couple of months following the surgery. I missed the IPL to play the coming Test series in Sri Lanka.” 

While this solid opener is confident of performing in all formats, he said, “Doing the job in the longer format for the country gives me the ultimate kick, it is the most difficult format, particularly when you play abroad in tough conditions.”

Like Vijay, star all-rounder R. Ashwin played with sports hernia in the Test series against Australia and then sat out of the IPL.  The message is – country comes first.

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