Murali Vijay is back with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018. The Tamil Nadu cricketer had started his IPL stint with CSK in 2009. He was then picked by Delhi Daredevils in 2014 and later played for and captained Kings XI Punjab from 2015 to 2017.
Vijay had gone unsold during the first day of IPL 2018 auction. But CSK got the opener back after he was available again in the auction on the second day.
He said it was nice to be back at the Chennai franchise and ‘felt blessed.’ “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to be back with CSK. I feel blessed to be picked by CSK. One good thing about CSK is that every individual puts the team’s interests ahead of his own. It’s important in franchise cricket for the overseas players and local players to strike right rapport and pull in the same direction. We would want to carry that into this year as well and play with fun and flair,” Vijay said during a promotional event.
The 33-year-old opener disclosed that he received calls to play English county after going unsold on the first day of IPL auction. “A lot of people approached me especially after the first day of the IPL auctions when I went unsold (starts laughing),” Vijay said.
On whether he would like to play county cricket before the England series, he added, “As for the county stint, there are a lot of procedures involved and we have to wait. There is a lot of time before the England and Australia assignments. Being a professional, I am confident of making the necessary adjustments and put up a better show on those two tours."
Vijay thinks he is ready to play T20 format despite staying aside from Indian limited overs team. “To perform well and put up a good show for CSK is always a pleasure and I think I am good enough to do that. I am ready to play in the T20 format and I can’t wait for the opening match against Mumbai Indians,” he added.
Vijay, an integral part of India's Test setup, also talked about India's performance against South Africa earlier this year. He thinks there is room for improvement in the Indian team.
“The team did a great job in South Africa. Unfortunately, we just fell short in the Test series. We thought the effort level was fantastic from the bowlers. It’s just that the batsmen let the team down. But we bounced back well to win the third Test. If it was a five-Test series, it could have been interesting from my perspective,” Vijay added.
The Indian opener revealed that the loss against South Africa didn't affect his mindset and he continued playing with a free mind against Tamil Nadu.
“I always play with a free mind and I used the time away from game to work on my fitness. As a team, I am hoping that CSK will play with our usual brand and accomplish our goals. It’s going to be interesting time for us,” he added.
The Chennai born recollected his memories playing for CSK. He recalled a win over Mumbai Indians in Mumbai as a memorable one. “I have a lot of fond memories of playing for CSK during my earlier stint. Beating Mumbai Indians in Mumbai is one and we plan to create more memories going forward,” he added.
Asked how different it was playing for CSK and other teams, he said, “I take a lot of pride in representing a franchise from my state. It’s hard to compare CSK with other teams because as Bravo said we create a family-like atmosphere where all the foreign players and local players forge a close bond. I haven’t experienced this kind of bonding in other teams I have played for. I am confident that we will click as a unit."