Murali Vijay: My friendship with Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul has helped manage opening order changes
Murali Vijay says friendship between opening trio Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and himself helps them deal with what has become a virtual game of musical chairs at top of the India order
Opener Murali Vijay, who struck a ton on his comeback Test in Nagpur, further complicating India's conundrum, said that it is the off-field camaraderie shared by him, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul that helps them deal with what has become a virtual game of musical chairs at the top of the order. With the trio fit, in-form and available for selection here at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, where India have an unbeaten Test record for the last 30 years, Vijay revealed how they handle this unique situation. "We three are very good friends off the field and that makes it much easier," said the elegant right hander ahead of today's third Test.
India cricketers Ravindra Jadeja (left), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay and KL Rahul (right) at the Kotla in New Delhi yesterday. Pic/PTI
"Obviously, we share a good rapport outside the field and this will help us big time in future as well." Curiously, while both Vijay and Dhawan have opened alongside Rahul over the last one year, they last batted together in the second Test against New Zealand at Kolkata in 2016. Since then, Rahul has been a regular fixture at the top while Vijay and Dhawan have been shuffled depending on fitness and form. Vijay was India's preferred choice till his wrist injury re-surfaced and Dhawan replaced him in Sri Lanka, smashing two hundreds. He followed it up with a 94 in the second innings in Kolkata, a knock that helped India erase the deficit and set Sri Lanka a challenging target, even with the paucity of time.
When asked if the chopping and changing made it hard for the regular opener, [in this case, Rahul], Vijay answered in the affirmative but also said that open communication allows them to continue to work as a successful team. "Definitely, it unsettles the opener, who is playing regularly. Whatever I feel or Shikhar feels, we put it out in the open and move forward. We are fun-loving people. We have a good time outside and that is really helping us as a team," he concluded.
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