Ashwin recalls the greatest Indian Test opener after Gavaskar and Sehwag

By Real11 - Feb 15 2023 381 Views


‘The greatest Indian Test opener after Gavaskar and Sehwag but he is not celebrated enough’, Ashwin’s remarks on Murali Vijay

Ravichandran Ashwin who is now one of the main players for the Indian side in Test cricket has expressed his thoughts on his fellow teammate Murali Vijay. They both have played a lot of cricket for Tamil Nadu and then for Team India. Ashwin eventually rates the recently retired cricketer as the best Indian Test opening batter after the greats, Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag. 

Sanjay Manjrekar whose name is already alleged with a lot of criticism, that even Vijay didn’t shy away from taking a jibe at the commentator. Manjrekar was amazed to see the former opener at the top of the list of Indian batters with the best conversion rate from fifty to a hundred in home Tests. Murali Vijay had an amazing 60% conversion rate when it comes to the topic of home Tests. In easier words, he crossed the 50-run mark 15 times in Test matches played in India and converted 9 of them into centuries. His conversion rate was so good that big names in the Indian cricket fraternity like Mohammed Azharuddin, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli came below him on the list. Manjrekar was surely not the sole person who was short of breath after watching this stat. It would have been surely fascinating to know how many of us have been remembering Vijay before thinking about the greats like Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Dravid, Rohit, and Kohli. It also, proves how underrated he is when it comes to Test cricket.

When the era of the two legends Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir’s opening pair came to a premature end in Test Cricket, Team India desperately needed a solid personality who could hold his position at the top of the order. If we dig deep into Indian cricket’s past, openers have been the strongest point, but Vijay was the game-changer as he eventually turned the spot into his own. 

Vijay’s Test career did not get the perfect start a batsman would have dreamt of. The right-hander did not play a Test match after his debut in 2008, he was only present in the team as a backup player. In the year 2013, he appeared to rise as the first choice for the selectors. That was when he sealed his opening spot and till 2018, he was not only India’s but also one of the best Test opening batsmen in the World.

Ashwin appreciated all of Murali Vijay’s efforts for India’s growth in Test cricket. The right-arm off-spinner also added that "M Vijay, according to me, is the greatest opener for India outside of Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag."

The recently retired batter is also the only Indian cricketer to have registered more than 10 centuries while opening in a Test match after Gavaskar (33) and Sehwag (22). His 11 out of 12 Test hundreds came between the years 2013 and 2018. 

But does he gets his deserved credit? Not only Ashwin but many of us would definitely think he is not. Ashwin also added another name, Cheteshwar Pujara, to this seldom list of cricketers who are not well-recognised or not the way they should get. 

"Vijay and Puji are quite similar in that they haven't been celebrated enough. They also had some of the most hilarious arguments. They used to do the most difficult job in Test cricket - play out the new ball in testing conditions, as we tend to need to do whenever we go abroad - so it is parred for the course to have a few eccentricities emerge from that kind of partnership.

"They could spend a whole session break arguing over a call that Puji wouldn't have responded to. Vijay would try to get others to back him, but Puji would stay firm and say, "There was no run." You can get witnesses and evidence and attorneys, but Puji never changes his mind. Nor does he get frustrated with these debates," Ashwin stated.

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