The last time India played a Test series in West Indies in 2011, opening batsman Murali Vijay’s hopes of making an impression were dented very early. Going into bat first on an underprepared net pitch at the Sabina Park in Jamaica ahead of the first Test, Vijay received a painful blow on his hand from quick bowler Sheldon Cottrell. He played the Test, but the pain was evident as he took his hand off the bat handle to be caught at point off Ravi Rampaul.
It turned out that he had suffered ah airline fracture. Although he played all the three Tests, he struggled and finished with an average of around 13 from six innings, which led to his omission for the subsequent England tour.
However, Vijay, at 32 the seniormost batsman in the squad, is coming off a fairly good Indian Premier League season, after scoring Test centuries in England (2014) and Australia(2015) andthen playing two solid half-centuries on last year’s Sri Lanka tour, where a hamstring injury ruled him out of the last Test.
Vijay has toured the West Indies thrice, but when asked in Bengaluru in a media interaction during the camp on Thursday about the upcoming four-Test series, he smiled: “The last time it (the experience) wasn’t good. Hopefully, I can pull it off this time,” he said. The team would assess the kind of wickets India will get to play and he would look to pass his experience to the younger batsmen.
The series will set the tone for India, who are scheduled to play 13 more Tests at home in the next one year. “It is a great place to play, it will be fun, and there will be lot of competition. It will be entertainment overall, and a good performance will be a confidence-booster for the season,” he added.
With Anil Kumble coming on board as chief coach, after team director Ravi Shastri’s two-year term, he said the players were looking forward to working with the former bowling great .“My first Test was his (Kumble’s) last Test,” said Vijay.