murali vijay
Murali Vijay (AFP Photo)

Murali Vijay has stormed back into the India Test squad after being dropped midway through the England tour and subsequently being snubbed for a home series against West Indies. He scored 26 across four innings in England Tests including two ducks before being replaced in the playing XI.

Vijay stayed back to play county cricket for Essex where he returned to form with a century and three fifties across five innings. Despite that, he was ignored for the Windies series but managed to found place in India’s Test squad for Australia tour.

The 34-year-old says he getting back in form was his motive behind playing for Essex and that he didn’t use the platform to launch a comeback to international cricket.

“I never went to play county to get back into the Indian team,” Vijay told The Times of India. “I felt it was important to get some runs and play good cricket. It so happened that I could do well (there) which gave me that extra bit of chance to get back into the side.”

Vijay had a productive tour of Australia in 2014-15 when he scored 482 runs at an average of 60.25 to finish as the third highest run-getter of the four-Test series which India lost 0-2.

“This time we have planned well (for Australia tour) and we will get practice games before the first Test in Australia. So it is going to be ideal and hopefully, our boys can gel as a team and put the best foot forward,” Vijay said

Vijay was twice dismissed by Australia offspiner Nathan Lyon on that tour – once in the first Test when he was on 99 and then in the second Test when he had scored a brilliant century.

The opening batsman is hoping for another good contest. “You can’t allow a bowler of Lyon’s caliber to settle into his rhythm. We both had a good competition going on (the last time), and it will be great to once again take up the challenge,” said Vijay who will be travelling to New Zealand as part of India A squad for for a four-day match in mid-November.