CHENNAI: Did the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) and the state’s selection committee rush into dropping Murali Vijay?
That appears to be the case, going by coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar’s revelation after the team’s defeat against Madhya Pradesh that the management was fully aware of the India opener’s injury. “Yes, I was. He was carrying an injury which had something to do with his shoulder. He needs treatment on and off. He needs a bit of maintenance; even domestic players do,” added Kanitkar.
It is important to mention here that even during the Test series in South Africa, Vijay had to repeatedly take the physio’s assistance. Barring a few instance, he didn’t even field at short-leg. In the third, he took a hit on the same shoulder while batting and needed medical attention on Day 3. And it is surprising that none from the TNCA or the physio — who attended him in the dressing room too — were not aware of the injury.
Kanitkar also revealed that Vijay’s absence didn’t have any adverse effect on the team, and he knew about it before coming to the venue. “He informed me in the morning about his problem. I think there was some communication problem with the association. I knew it before I came to the ground. I also already knew who to replace him with (sic). It wasn’t a surprise because we were prepared for it. Even during the Ranji Trophy, he had a problem with his neck and got it treated. But he had come to the ground. This time he didn’t, but he had informed me. The TNCA didn’t inform me about him getting dropped and replacing another player.”
It is understood that apart from the management, no one from the selection committee or TNCA — barring an ex-official — spoke to Vijay. Even the TNCA’s statement on Thursday had no mention of “dropped” or “left out”. It only said that the batsman was being replaced. Although it is true that Vijay didn’t inform the selection panel headed by S Sharath, the committee’s decision to not have a word with him or the management is worth questioning. The selectors didn’t even discuss about his replacement with the coach or the captain.
It is not the first time a player has been treated in this manner by selectors. A few seasons ago, a batting mainstay was close to being dropped. After the coach’s intervention, he ended up with most runs that season. A selector told Express that the decision was taken only after Kanitkar’s inputs, but the coach’s statement on Friday contradicts that. It has been reliably learnt that the management had no issues with Vijay.
Group B: Kerala 271/7 in 50 ovs (Sachin Baby 95, Vishnu 66; Jaswal 3/51) lost to Himachal 273/9 in 50 ovs (Kaushik 83, Gangta 62; Akshay 4/32, Asif 3/65). Group C: Goa 188 in 47.4 ovs (G Reddy 4/32) lost to Andhra 191/9 in 49.3 pvs (Ricky Bhui 56; L Garg 3/32). Tamil Nadu 302/9 in 50 ovs (Jagadessan 99, V Shankar 84; Ankit Singh 3/59) lost to Madhya Pradesh 303/2 in 46 ovs (Patidar 158; Rameez 78 n.o).Group D: Hyderabad 278/6 in 49.3 ovs (Akshath 94, Rayudu 76) bt Saurashtra 277/7 in 50 ovs (Samarath 57, Vasavada 49; Siraj 3/46).