Murali Vijay has stated that shuffling the opening slot often will only unsettle the regulars as it makes none of the three players permanent. However, the right-hander insisted that he remains unfazed by it as the three share a good rapport outside the field, which has helped them to perform well.
The third and final Test of the India-Sri Lanka series will start tomorrow in Delhi and selectors are yet to decide who will open the innings for the hosts after Murali Vijay's comeback century last game has made things complicated now. A quick comparison shows that none of them has shown a dip in form this year so far.
In 2017, Vijay has played five Tests scoring 356 runs at an average of 44.50, which includes his latest 128-run knock against Sri Lanka in Nagpur. It was his absence in the previous Sri Lanka tour in July with a wrist injury that gave a straight chance to Dhawan. The southpaw from Delhi has played four Tests this year in which he has added 460 runs at an average of 76.66 and interestingly all the Tests have been against Sri Lanka.
KL Rahul has featured in most Test matches so far, nine, where he scored 633 runs in 14 innings at an average of 48.69. He has shown fantastic performance against Australia by scoring 393 runs in four Tests early this year, which included six half-centuries. He has also scored 86 runs in three innings against Sri Lanka in the current series.
While the selectors will be at loggerheads in terms of selection, Vijay has stated that the close camaraderie that the trio shares with each other will make the selection very easy for them to perform.
“We three are very good friends off the field, so it makes it much easier. Definitely, it will (shuffling) unsettle the opener who is playing regularly. (But) we three have a good rapport outside the field. It will help us big time in the series coming ahead, and in the future as well. We three are in good form,” he told the pre-match news conference as quoted by Hindustan Times.
“Make it easier, make it lighter, make it more fun, talk about it openly, and chat about it, rather than keeping it to yourself and make the other person feel it.
“Whatever I feel or Shikhar feels, we generally put it out in the open. We clear that thing and move forward. Basically, they are fun-loving people; we do things together, get to have a good time outside the field. So, it is really helping us as a team,” the 33-year-old said.
After the third Test, India will play three Tests and the same number of T20Is against Sri Lanka and Vijay will not feature in the limited overs squad for the hosts. It means Vijay will not get any chance of playing competitive cricket whatsoever before the South Africa tour as his Tamil Nadu Team was eliminated from Ranji Trophy tournament after losing the match against Baroda by 102 runs.
After playing the full series against Sri Lanka, India will travel to South Africa and the first Test will start on January 5 in Cape Town. The series is considered to be a real challenge for India, who have they never won a Test series there. But Vijay doesn't see much difficulty about his preparations as he has already started practicing with the tennis ball in the nets.
“Preparing, trying to do something different in my practice. Some fun in my practice; it challenges me, (I) try to be better each and every day, if possible. I’ll definitely occupy myself with fitness and more skill (training) (ahead of the tour). I want to go and improve a little bit,” he said.