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Why Murali Vijay plays when he cannot

by Gaurav Sethi

Each match Vijay plays is an extra one. In the one-day series against the Kiwis, he was on borrowed time. He was introverted, then miserable, followed by a dismissal that must have come as a relief.

Not long ago, Vijay was timing it like he belonged, there were starts, 50s, that was the occasional test when Gambhir wasn’t available. He usually looked set, then the across the line shot, gone.

Off late Vijay has found far more ways to get out. His innings are short, but even so painfully long – did you watch him today? Vijay hogged the strike to such an extent that after 3-4 overs, Sachin was yet to score.

We could be missing the point here, could it be that in Vijay, Cheeka sees an Atapattu in the rough – a man, who will bury his humble beginnings to torture us with long, meandering stays at the crease.

I used to like the energy Vijay had on the field – should he be saved as a permanent 12th man, one who can fizz the ball to the keeper, and give those “I-Got-you-under-my-skin” looks, mouth the occasional indecency in Tamil. Hell, should he even be playing cricket – cinema Madras beckons.

Then again, it’s wrong to get stuck into Vijay, it’s obvious he’s having a painfully bad patch that has only now ceased to be a patch, more like a patchwork planet. In Vijay, are resident the do-not-dos of a batsman.

When he gets stuck, his approaches are limited to – do not lose it, continue to block, block, block. Or hit out. The single, strike rotation are not options. Vijay plays across, in the air, looks a lot worse than he is, and continues to lose credibility.

Even though he has played only 9 tests, and 10 ODIs, his one-day numbers are fast resembling that of Zaheer Khan. But still nowhere close to the rope Nohit Sharma has been given.

If anything, Vijay opening ensures the misplaced onus of the same is not on either Kohli or Sharma. Other than that, there can be no reason to play him for another game. Unless Cheeka is on the lookout for that one elusuve knock that will book him for the World Cup as the third opener. C'mon Cheeka, there must be another opener in Tamil Nadu?


Sujan said...

Cheeka must understand that its really painful to have this guy play in ODI squad.

MouseMan said...

On the other hand, players like VVS and Gambhir have benefited from being given the security of a place in the team. They looked really out of place in the beginning too.
Anyway, there is no other option now, with Sachin flying back. They should have just kept Pujara there.