Murali Vijay slammed 3 centuries in 2016-17 season    AFP
Murali Vijay slammed 3 centuries in 2016-17 season AFP

Murali Vijay has been one of the pillars of the Test side during Team India’s successful 2016-17 journey. It has been two-and-half months since he underwent a wrist operation, and has been training hard to recover. The 33-year-old declined to take sides in the Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble controversy, as he hasn’t been around for a while but maintains both are “great individuals” and he enjoys working with them. READ MORE ON KOHLI-KUMBLE CONTROVERSY

In an interview with Cricbuzz, Vijay said, “I haven’t yet come back into the team. I was in the US at that time with family. I wasn’t aware of what’s happening. Kumble has done a lot of great things himself and for the team. He was a pretty good coach. Both Kumble and Kohli are great contributors to Indian cricket and they know what they are doing. Both are great individuals to handle and it’s been fantastic working with them.”

Vijay was a part of the Kohli-led and Kumble-coached side that achieved great heights last season. The opener is eyeing the Sri Lanka series for return and will soon go to NCA. He has had four net sessions since operation and is in his road to recovery. He mentions it is frustrating to cope up with multiple injuries over a period of time, but at the same time, the experience has helped him grow as a person.

“It’s been an irritating period (thumb fracture, wrist injury) but I’m coping with it. The entire phase has been a great experience for me as a person. I spent time with my family, saw my kids play and grow. I think I have come out of all the challenges pretty well. Even though I have been missing out on big hundreds, I have been scoring runs and contributing for the team. Now I’m just trying to get myself play now. Now I’m just trying to get myself 100 per cent fit and get those daddy hundreds,” said Vijay who slammed 3 hundreds in the 2016-17 season at 36.71.

World Cup 2019 ambitions

Vijay dismissed the notion around him of being a Test specialist and mentions that his aim is to be a part of the 2019 World Cup in England.

“When I started playing Test cricket, they said I’m a T20 player or ODI cricketer. When I started performing in Tests, they said I’m a Test player and that I couldn’t play the other formats. People have their own views, but I don’t have the time to analyse those. For now, my priority is to win overseas Tests for India. I feel my chances in the limited-overs are yet to come. But my aim is to be part of that Indian team for the 2019 World Cup in England. I’m trying to break the doors and play all three formats,” added Vijay who has played only 26 limited-overs internationals.

Tamil Nadu stalwart

Though Ravichandran Ashwin is fast catching up, Vijay remains the only cricketer from Tamil Nadu to play 50 Tests apart from yesteryear off-spinner S Venkataraghavan. Stepping out in the field for India, Vijay feels he represents “each and every individual from Tamil Nadu” and one of his objectives as national players lies in “putting Tamil Nadu in the world map.”

“It’s a great feeling (to be from Tamil Nadu). When I go out to bat, I represent each and every individual from TN. I struggled a lot to earn my Ranji cap. When I got it, I told myself that I have the responsibility of representing my state and that it’s my duty to push the barriers to put my state in the world map. I take a lot of pride in doing that,” Vijay added.