Indian batsman Murali Vijay is ready to keep the South African bowlers at bay when India square off against the Proteas in the gruelling Test series which unfolds from January 5. The Tamil Nadu ace was sidelined from the Sri Lanka tour earlier this year after picking up a wrist injury but made a sensational comeback against the Lankans in the recently concluded Test series where he blasted two centuries in Nagpur and Delhi Tests. He finished the Test series with an impressive 292 runs from 3 innings at a sensational average of 97.33.

Vijay will have a key role to play against South Africa donning the responsibilities of steering the top order. He will aim to continue his purple patch and use his experience of the previous South Africa tours to help his team write history by pulling off a maiden series triumph in the country. He collected 176 runs in six innings at an average close to 30 with the highest score of 97 runs when India travelled to South Africa in 2013. Ahead of the first Test encounter, Vijay said he is looking forward to dish out the best with his bat and be on top of his game against the stern opposition.

“I am preparing myself to be a little more open than how I was last time. I just want to go out there and whatever is thrown at me, I just want to play my A game and do well for my country. I just want to prepare myself and be in a confident state of mind, which I am at the moment, which is good for me and the team. You also have to be in a frame of mind where you also have to score runs. If they bowl in good areas, then you have to try to counter and come out stronger. These are the things which will be critical for us to move forward,” said Vijay.

Due to rain, team India had to commence practise indoor and Vijay suggested that the team is excited to take field in the first Test. Despite the conditions and pitch favouring the fast bowlers, the Tamil Nadu batsman said the role of spinners will also be important.
“It is actually a very, very important role because you have to support the fast bowlers as well. If you can bowl the spinners in the game, they can come in big time and get a couple of wickets here and there, so it will be a great help for us,” he said.

Commenting on the pitch, Vijay said: “It is quite green. I don’t know how it is going to behave on day one. For an opening batsman, the swing is more difficult to face than bounce. Personally, I think I am able to manage bounce more. If the ball swings around, it is difficult for any batsman to keep his shape.”

(With agency inputs)

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