Report: Day 1 | Sehwag's Delhi's belly
MUMBAI: Murali Vijay hates being addressed by his first name, which, he clarifies, belongs more to his father than to him. But on Wednesday at the Wankhede Stadium, the Rest of India opener all-but-ignored several such utterances that would have otherwise caused him to foam at the mouth.
The reason was simple. After an exceptionally poor Ranji Trophy season, Vijay was finally among the runs in the Irani Cup against Mumbai. Vijay scored 116 on the first day of the contest – his 11th First Class hundred – more than doubling his highest score in the last domestic calendar.
“This is a big game for me and I am taking it as a challenge. I was just playing positive cricket and I always enjoy my batting,” he said.
The knock is a timely one. Australia tour India for four Test matches beginning late February, with India still unsure about their opening batting combination.
Vijay, who has played 12 Tests for India, spent the better part of the England series last year on the bench as third-choice opener.
“It’s frustrating to be on the bench, but it’s a challenge too. One has to move forward and whenever I get another opportunity I will seize it,” he said of his chances of making the national squad again.
It was not all milk and honey for the centurion. Vijay was all at sea early in his knock and was caught behind off a Shardul Thakur no ball when he had scored 79.
“There was something in the wicket. It could have gone either way in the morning, but today was our day. Mumbai are the most successful domestic team, so they obviously have a good attack,” he said.
Vijay admitted his dismissal – bowled playing across to Abhishek Nayar – had been a lazy one.
“I was lazy. I could have played straighter to that ball.”
Mumbai’s breakthrough artiste Nayar, meanwhile, came in for praise from coach Sulakshan Kulkarni.
“He (Nayar) knows how to dismiss set batsmen. (Shardul) Thakur and Javed (Khan) are young bowlers who need more experience. They have been bowling well prior to this game and they will learn as they play more,” he added.