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Who is Murali Vijay’s replacement?

by Gaurav Sethi

It’s been that kind of year for Gambhir. If he was a chef, he would’ve cooked the kitchen. If he was a bowler, you would've called him Zaheer.

It’s the hand this time, swollen. Good for Gambhir, he travels with a ready replacement.

On hectic night outs, when Gambhir walks out on his dancing partner, for a quiet chat with Jatman, Vijay has to step up for a twirl.

Even though they look somewhat unlike each other, Vijay is the closest to a body double. He fills in, then vacates, fills in, vacates. It seems like much longer, but so far Vijay has filled in for 8 tests, usually on doctor-on-call short notice.

Just over 2 years since his debut, 8 tests, 12 innings, 1 hundred, 2 fifties, average of 42, but nowhere enough bark or bite to threaten anyone’s spot. Also he hasn’t played a test outside the sub continent (of his 8 tests, he’s played 2 in Colombo, 1 in Dhaka and 5 in India).

There’s not much to go by Vijay’s one-day career, made his debut earlier this year, and if anything it’s been the reverse of Raina’s rambling test start.

There, see, I’ve not only mixed one-dayers and tests, but Raina and Vijay. If anything, Vijay’s one-day numbers could prove to be his test undoing – isn’t that how it works here? A highest of 33, average of 22, strike rate of 65, 8 games yes, but looks like, he’s already lost his World Cup spot.

Last test, a little over a month ago, scored a 139 against Australia. Followed that with some inhibited 30s in the one-dayers, lost his spot, and now, Durban. Can he earn his stripes?

If not, who is Vijay’s replacement? I’m thinking Virat Kohli, what were you thinking? Another damn Delhiwallah?

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