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Vijay not taking Afghans lightly ahead of one-off Test

Senior Test opener says patience will be the key in England

Image Credit: PTI
Murali Vijay
Gulf News

Bengaluru: Murali Vijay, India’s senior Test opener, is in no mood to take Afghanistan lightly on the eve of their one-off Test beginning on Thursday.

“The Test against Afghanistan gives us an opportunity to go out there and express ourselves. It will definitely be an interesting game and from there on, the strategies for the England series will start,” said Vijay, who had to sit out during the Chennai Super Kings’ successful IPL campaign, but will again be a key player in the longer formats.

Afghanistan might be making their debut in the longest format of the game, but Vijay maintains that they cannot be taken lightly. “Afghanistan is a quality side and Test cricket as such is a test for any player,” he said.

Vijay further added that patience is the key to success in tough English conditions. “Even experienced players tend to struggle in England as the conditions are alien. Scoring runs in such conditions is a mental game and you have to be persistent. It is important to bide your time, believe in yourself and runs will come. That’s what I have looked to do throughout my career.”

The 34-year-old is of the view that individual performances won’t be of much importance in England. “I have been telling people that it’s about winning more than individual performances. You can perform well but at the end of the day if the team doesn’t win (the series), then it doesn’t give much happiness.”

As far as his technique is concerned, the senior pro doesn’t want to go for any experiments. “I tried going for different things (earlier) and it didn’t work. I am in a state where I want to enjoy the game than set any targets. I believe I have the hunger to go big and that’s more important,” he concluded.

In his previous five Tests in England, Vijay has scored 402 runs at an average of 40.20. That includes a century and two fifties, which makes him one of the few Indian batsmen who have done well outside the subcontinent.

Though the team for England Tests has not been announced, he could be opening the innings either with Lokesh Rahul or Shikhar Dhawan, who are in good form at the moment and did well in the IPL.

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