England vs India: Murali Vijay would have liked to play county like Pujara before series

England vs India: Murali Vijay would have liked to play county like Pujara before series

Vijay instead played the one-off Test against Afghanistan wherein he scored a century.

Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane
Murali Vijay of India celebrates his century with teammate Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

He will be one of the mainstays of Indian batting line-up up front as India take on a formidable England side in a five-Test series starting August 1. Murali Vijay, the 34-year-old Chennai batsman who has remained largely eclipsed by the like of Virat Kohlis and KL Rahuls, will be looking forward to the series in the country where he had slammed his first overseas ton (146) in 2014.

Speaking to DNA in an interview, Vijay said the start will be crucial for India, especially the first two matches, in the Test series. About his own role in the series, the right-handed opening batsman said his “main challenge will be to contribute in a specific manner to the team’s win”.

When asked whether he would have also liked to spend some time in the county ahead of the England series like Cheteshwar Pujara did, Vijay, 34, said he would but couldn’t plan much because of the bust itinerary. Soon after the Indian Premier League ended, India was set to play Afghanistan in a one-off Test where Vijay hit a ton.

Vijay and Rahane feature for India ‘A’

He played for India A against England Lions last week at Worcester, scoring eight and zero, and were looking forward to the warm-up matches before the Test series. India will be playing Essex at Chelmsford from July 25-28 before taking the field for the first Test at Edgbaston next week.

Vijay was also asked what he would like to take to England from India’s previous overseas Test series which was played in South Africa earlier this year. “Definitely not the pitches,” he said. Vijay played in all the three matches of the series that India lost 1-2 but could not hit even a fifty; his highest score was 46. He said there were moments in that series versus South Africa during which India did well and he would take the memories of his team fighting in the middle to England.

In another question, Vijay was asked about Rashid Khan, the teenage spinning sensation from Afghanistan who he played in the one-off Test last month and negotiated well.

“It is too early for me to say anything about him as far as Test is concerned. But generally, in T20 and one-dayers, it is just the way he pitches the ball in the consistent areas over a period of time that makes him so special, I guess,” Vijay said. Vijay said the experience of playing Khan was good, adding that picking the bowler initially was difficult but one had to be mentally strong to overcome those challenges.

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