|BORN||April 1, 1984|
|BATTING STYLE||Right Handed|
|BOWLING STYLE||Off break|
For someone who picked up the game at the age of 17, Murali Vijay has surely come a long way. He showed the first signs of being a potentially good Test batsman when he shared a 462-run opening stand with Abhinav Mukund for Tamil Nadu in 2008. His hard work did not go unnoticed and he got a call up to the national side. With Gautam Gambhir banned for elbowing Shane Watson, he made his debut in the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Vijay made a confident 33 and 41 on debut. He came across as someone who was aware of his limitations and had a fine balance at the crease. Not afraid to use his feet to the spinners just added to the joy of watching the elegant batsman flow when in mood. However, the return of Gambhir meant that he had to wait for his chance. He played a part in the Bangladesh and South Africa Test series before making his ODI debut against South Africa in 2010.
Not able to keep up with the run-scoring, Vijay went through a slump before roaring back into the reckoning with a blistering season for Chennai in the Indian T20 League. It was in 2010 that he turned things around. Seen as someone who was a Test specialist, Vijay surprised one and all by his bold and attractive strokeplay. He hit a magnificent century against Rajasthan and was instrumental in Chennai’s twin title wins in 2010 and 2011.
It was time for Tests now and this time Vijay did not let the chance go by. He smashed 430 runs against Australia with two centuries in the 2013 series. That earned him a recall to the ODI side but he fluffed the chances and was shown the door by the selectors. It was since the tour of South Africa that he managed to come back and stamp his authority in the whites for India. He showed tremendous temperament and patience to play few of India’s best Test knocks away from home.
His 95 at Lord’s in 2014 was instrumental in India’s win at the venue after 28 years. Vijay scored 402 runs on that tour and was one of the very few positives for India. He made 99 at Adelaide in 2014 and followed it up with a fluent 144 at the Gabba to further prove his credentials as a Test opener.
Injuries then threatened to hamper his progress but whenever given a chance at the top of the order he made it count. After the 150 against Bangladesh, he chipped in with vital contributions but could not get the big score. He did manage to go past the three-figure mark thrice in the grand home season for India in 2016-17 and remains one of India’s best Test batsmen after the retirement of the Fabulous Four.