Hard work, patience and determination helped Murali Vijay get back his spot in the national squad as a third opener for the first two Tests against England. Current string of big scores in the Irani and Challenger Trophy and past performances also played a part in Vijay getting the nod.
A string of good scores right from the club-level to Ranji helped Vijay make his debut against Australia in place of Gautam Gambhir at Nagpur in 2008. He gave a good account of himself against the Aussies. His calm and composed attitude impressed Sachin Tendulkar. Former cricketers like Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border too were in praise for the youngster. They believed he was stylish and had all the ingredients to make a good international cricketer.
Vijay has been giving his best whenever he has got the opportunity, which happens when one of India’s two principal openers Virender Sehwag or Gambhir were not available.
Being asked to play at the last moment is not easy as Test cricket is demanding when one compares it to the other formats of the game. However, the competitive league in Chennai toughened him for the harder battles at the international level. He even scored his maiden Test century against Australia in 2010.
Being in and out of the squad, besides being a brilliant T20 cricketer affected his technique and his patience too waned. Vijay like Sehwag is a player who relishes playing all the formats in a similar manner. After his brilliant century for CSK against Rajasthan his stock rose, so also his fan-base. Everyone wanted Vijay to play a dashing innings like Sehwag. In this new-found adulation and expectation, Vijay found it difficult to adjust to the longer version and lost his place in the Indian team after below-par show in the West Indies
After coming back from the West Indies, Vijay chalked out a plan and worked towards developing patience. This bore fruit almost immediately as he scored a magnificent double hundred in the Irani against Rajasthan. He showed to one and all during his knock that he had all the attributes needed to be a good Test cricketer. He followed it up with a century and 95 in the Challengers, which showed his ability to shift gears between two formats smoothly.
He is a quick learner and with his new-found maturity, he can perform in all the formats with equal panache. His fielding is a big bonus and at times inspirational. With already a Test century under his kitty, he is sure to get an opportunity to play for India again.