S. Dinakar

He has the right attributes of an opener

He scored 243 against Maharashtra in an ongoing Ranji match

Chennai: M. Vijay’s batting is wrapped in orthodoxy. He is more correct than dour; the ease and flow in his methods are compelling. The young man appears to be a natural opener.

Importantly, he can ‘play’ and ‘leave’; a vital attribute in an opener while coping with the new ball. Vijay’s balanced stance and an initial, but non-committal, trigger movement forward enhances his judgement in the corridor.

Talent, performances and a combination of circumstances have earned Vijay a place in the Indian squad for the high-stakes final Test against Australia at Nagpur. He deserves the opportunity.

Testing times ahead

The 24-year-old Vijay faces more comprehensive tests of technique and temperament in the days ahead but appears to posses the right ingredients. And he is a man in form, if his innings of 243 and his 462-run partnership with Abhinav Mukund for Tamil Nadu in the on-going Ranji Trophy match against Maharashtra are any indication.

Will he be able to make the transition mentally on a bigger stage?

Earlier in the season, Vijay impressed with his temperament and runs against New Zealand ‘A’ during the two-‘Test’ series in Chennai. Coach Dav Whatmore had words of praise for the opener.

Vijay plays in the ‘V’ off the front-foot, can shorten the length with sound back-foot play. At the domestic level, his strokeplay has revolved around a strong defence. More than his 1,505 runs in 19 first class matches at 47.03 (before the ongoing Ranji match) his approach in an opener’s role has caught the eye; these efforts were well-constructed. Vijay notched up 628 runs in his first Ranji season for the State — 2006-07 —announcing his arrival with headlines.

The following season was bound to be testing. Several emerging batsmen get sorted out during the second year; the think-tank and bowlers comprehend the methods, arrive with plans.

Early disappointments in his second Ranji season did not diminish Vijay’s hunger. He roared back with a double century against Saurashtra. He has not looked back since.

It is often hazardous to make predictions about young cricketers but Vijay does have immense possibilities.

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