My best is yet to come - Murali Vijay
Vijay was India's leading run-scorer in Test matches last year, amassing 852 runs from 10 games at an average of 42.60, with two hundreds and five fifties under his belt.
Vijay’s hamstring injury kept him out of the first and third Tests of the recently concluded India's tour of Sri Lanka, but scored a crucial 82 runs in the second innings of the second game in Colombo.
Confident about his complete recovery for the upcoming Test series against South Africa, Vijay said: “I am getting better, I should be fully fit.”
Giving the reason behind playing the second Test against Sri Lanka in August, Vijay said that he took the decision after having a discussion with the physio.
“I had a chat with the physio before the second Test and we decided I could play since I had done my rehabilitation well during the break (after the Zimbabwe tour).
“I never had any doubts about my batting.”
However, Vijay injured his hamstring again during his knock of 82 runs in the second innings of the second Test at the P Sara Oval.
Vijay revealed that he decided to play aggressively in the partnership with Ajinkya Rahane as he was unable to rotate the strike due to his injured hamstring.
“In the second or third over of the innings, I tweaked the hamstring again and when I pushed for a single, I realised something was wrong inside.
“I was struggling to run quick singles and twos.
“That’s when I decided that I should be a little more positive.
“I didn’t want to put Ajinkya under pressure and disturb his tempo.
“I told Ajinkya, ‘You stay at one end and anchor the innings like you have so far; I will take the risks’.
“I thought, even if I get out, Virat would be in next.
“He and Ajinkya are much fitter and can run hard between the wickets.
“I didn’t want to disturb Ajinkya’s rhythm because at that time his wicket was more crucial to the team than mine.”
The last time India toured South Africa in 2013, Vijay was unlucky to miss out on a hundred in the second Test in Durban.
He scored 97 runs in the first innings and helped India cross the 300 mark, but a batting collapse in the second innings led to South Africa winning the match by 10 wickets.
Vijay revealed that his knock of 39 runs in the first Test against South Africa in Johannesburg gave him confidence to perform well in Durban.
“It was the 39 runs in the Johannesburg Test that turned things around for me.
“I could feel that I was batting well.
“That’s what gave me confidence going into the Durban Test.
“I was under the pump and really wanted to come good.
“The ball was reversing in Durban and it helped that I play a lot of reverse swing back home at the domestic level.”
Vijay made his Test debut for India in 2008, but his career never really took off in the till the 2013 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
With 430 runs under his belt from four matches including two hundreds, Vijay stood out as the highest run getter in the series which India won 4-0.
Since 2013, Vijay has played 21 Tests and has amassed 1811 runs at an average of 47.65, becoming India’s second highest run-scorer behind Virat Kohli.
Reflecting on his journey so far, Vijay admitted that it has been an excellent journey so far, but is looking forward to even better times ahead.
“It has been a great journey for me - the last one and a half year.
“But the best of me is yet to come.”
With the first Test against South Africa scheduled to begin on 5th November, Vijay has more than a month to reach full fitness to make his way into the final XI.
© Cricket World 2015