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Monday, January 30, 2023

Monk Murali !! - - - retires !!

Retirements are  normal; We have seen so many in our lives with the passage of time…… it is a process where a person stops employment completely.  We are not speaking about anything forced but the natural retirement upon person reaching the prescribed age limit of 58 or 60….  In some ways, it is a happy event that somebody can take rest peacefully and perhaps devote his time and attention to religious or social activity ~ not required to work any longer……not all are fortunate..  retirement is  an emotional event for everyone and it is more emotional for the retiree.    

The first price of popularity is that one is hounded quite often of ‘retirement’……… the great genius writer Sujatha in his heydays was confronted in a student’s forum with the Q  : Sir, when will you stop writing ? Pat came the reply – ‘in the night ~ when I feel too sleepy’………… 

We have seen some great openers – Pankaj Roy, Sunil Gavaskar, Chetan Chauhan,Navjot Sidhu,  Krish Srikkanth, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sadagoppan Ramesh, Shikhar Dhawan .. .. to name a few !!   .. .. today comes the news of retirement of an Indian Opener, whom we loved seeking, cut, drive and pull with ease !! 


In 2012, a decade ago -  in IPL Cricket  24 centuries had been socred ; 6 in that season- Chris Gayle, Ajinkya Rahane, David Warner, Rohit Sharma, Kevin Pietersen and Murali Vijay.  Gayle had made 3 tons in IPL; Warner and Shaun Marsh 2 each… only Indian to have made 2 tons in IPL was Monk ….. Murali Vijay. 

In the First Test at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica – 2011  presented a rare spectacle of two Tamilnadu players opening for India.   It was debutant Abhinav Mukund (Virat Kohli and Praveen Kumar too made their debuts in that test) opening with Murali Vijay ..   There have been few Tamil Nadu batsmen who had opened for   Krish Srikkanth, Woorkeri Venkatraman,  Sadagoppan Ramesh,    

Remember his cavalier knock at Brisbane Gabba on 17.12.2014.   At  12.1 – Dhawan scored a 4 off Johnson completing their first 50-plus opening stand in an away Test ~ coming as it did for the Team after the one at  Lord's 2011.

A leading Aussie Press screamed - warming to conditions more familiar to Goa beachgoers than a Gabba Test match crowd, opener Murali Vijay led a perfectly-placed Indian counterpunch that sapped Steve Smith’s Australians of more than their spirit on day one of the second Commonwealth Bank Test. Having been cruelly denied the single that would have carried him to a deserved century the previous week  in Adelaide, Vijay defied Brisbane’s steamy heat and predictions that the tourists’ batting would fold on a fast, bouncy pitch to post a clinical 144. 

Today comes the news that  Murali Vijay  has called time on his international career to explore "new opportunities in the world of cricket and the business side of it".  

Vijay played 61 Tests, 17 ODIs and nine T20Is in an international career that began in 2008 when he replaced Gautam Gambhir in India's XI.  His last appearance in professional cricket was in the IPL, in Sept 2020.  A classical Test opener, who, when at his peak, had a solid technique and immense patience against the new ball - his ability to leave the ball earned him great praise during India's tour of England in 2014 - Vijay finished with 3982 Test runs in 105 innings at an average of 38.28. He made 12 centuries and 15 half-centuries, with a best of 167 against Australia in Hyderabad in 2013.  

"I am excited to announce that I will be exploring new opportunities in the world of cricket and the business side of it, where I will also continue to participate in the sport that I love and challenge myself in new and different environments," 38-year-old Vijay said in a statement. "I believe this is the next step in my journey as a cricketer and I look forward to the new chapter in my life."  

Vijay was a key member of India's Test squad for a five-year period between 2013 and 2018. From December 2013 to January 2015, when India played all their Test cricket away from home - in South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia - Vijay faced the most balls and scored the second-most runs for the team. He was also one of only three players to average more than 40.  

He had a moniker – ‘the monk’ for the calmness at crease !!   Vijay’s calmness at the crease and selfless self-denial evoked a man of the cloth. The tranquillity of his gaze at the greener tops on overseas soil gave many an Indian fans much-needed assurance; substituting the flashing blade for unglamorous left opposition bowlers frustrated.    

Interestingly, though he used to bowl in local matches, his only victim in Test is Moeen Ali out LBW in the 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, July 17 - 21, 2014,  which India won!  

All the best Murali Vijay – we loved seeing you bat .. .. and he was a good fielder too !!  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Jan 2023. 

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