International

June 8, 2018

International

A fresh-looking M. Vijay sauntered down the hotel lobby. A quiet sense of confidence flowed through the bearded cricketer’s visage. And, yes, his eyes retained their intensity.In the past, this technically-pleasing opener has delivered in the toughest of conditions with an amalgam of meticulous preparation, belief and skill. Ahead of a fresh Test season, he will need all these attributes for himself and the Indian team. A demanding campaign in Englandlooms.Vijay said to Sportstar here on Thursday, “The English conditions ask questions. They keep changing and the ball moves around. As a top-order batsman you got to be aware of your off-stump, need to focus hard.” The last time India toured England for Tests, in 2014, Vijay ‘played and left’ with impeccable judgment to emerge as the leading visiting batsman with 402 runs from five matches at 40.20, taking on the incisive pace pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Anderson and Broad have been far less successful in recent times but Vijay said the two still had gas left in the tank. “They continue to be a very good combination, just look at the manner they bowled in the second Test against Pakistan. I followed that series closely. You need to be at your 'A'.” The 34-year-old Vijay felt India had a wonderful opportunity to emerge triumphant in England. “We believe we can win the Test series. This is a very good Indian team with great balance.” Actually, India missed a gilt-edged chance to overcome South Africa in its own backyard earlier this year. “It was a near thing. But the victory in the final Test in Johannesburg has given us the confidence and momentum to succeed in difficult overseas conditions.”Vijay rates his blood-and-guts 127-ball 25 on a brutal pitch in the second innings at Wanderers as one of his best Test efforts. “You saw how the pitch was. The ball was taking off, we were getting hit on the body, the match was stopped and then started.” And he is looking forward to the one-off Test in Bengaluru against Afghanistan. “The Afghanistan cricketers seem to have the heart for tough cricket. They are a lively bunch, learning quickly. And leg-spinner Rashid Khan has been impressive.” Appearing fit and sharp, Vijay has the desire for more glory.

 

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