Murali Vijay has displayed exemplary temperament in England

Tags: India tour of England, 2014, India, England, Murali Vijay

Published on: Jul 22, 2014

Going into the series against England, Murali Vijay's spot as an opener in the Indian team was definitely under pressure. He had scored a 97 in South Africa

Going into the series against England, Murali Vijay's spot as an opener in the Indian team was definitely under pressure. He had scored a 97 in South Africa, but taking that away it was the same old case of him giving it away after getting a start. He struggled miserably in New Zealand as well as the ball moved around and failed to make any kind of an impact. Going into the Tests against England, it was Shikhar Dhawan's whose spot was more certain as he had come up with a 115 and a 98 in New Zealand. But, how things have turned around in a matter of a couple of Tests.

Even since the series kicked off at Trent Bridge, Vijay has looked the most assured of all batsmen in the series. What has stood out in each of his knocks, even when he has not gone on to make a hundred is his patience and the technique. Every time he has gone out in the middle, he has displayed an exemplary ability to leave the ball outside the off stump. Although he was eventually flirting outside off stump in the second innings at Lord's, it was a rare aberration. Throughout the innings, and the earlier knocks as well, he has made a conscious effort to leave the ball outside the off stump, which has been a key reason for his long vigils at the crease.

Openers usually have to do the slog work in England, and considering that all other three openers in the series -- Dhawan, Cook and Robson -- have struggled, it makes Vijay's effort even more praiseworthy. He has stood up for the team each time they have been in trouble, and departed only after pulling them out of trouble. Not only has Vijay occupied the crease for long hours, but has ensured he has scored big runs as well. There have been many openers in the past who have seen the shine off the new ball, but have failed to convert the starts into major scores. This is where Vijay has been different, and effective.

The series could definitely turn out to be a turning point for Vijay. He went to England with the proverbial axe hanging over him, and questions being asked over his technique. The fact that Gautam Gambhir had been chosen as the third opener meant he couldn't afford any failures. A couple of bad Tests, and could have easily been made the fall guy. But now, it is Dhawan who is under pressure to retain his spot in the side. We might probably see a new opening combination in the next Test, and considering his magnificent record, Vijay will be the constant factor even if that happens.

While India would be pleased that Vijay has grabbed his opportunity with both hands, they will ideally want better support for him. India have failed to find a stable opening combination since Sehwag and Gambhir have split. Various combinations have been tried since, but none have worked. If Vijay can find a settled opening partner, he can flourish even further, and that would only benefit India in the long run.

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