India opening batsman Murali Vijay is a big fan of newly appointed head coach Anil Kumble and says the players have got a golden opportunity to learn from the great leg-spinner. “My first Test match was his last Test match and actually I did not spend lot of time with him, but I have been a great fan of him as an youngster,” he told reporters on the second day of the India camp at the KSCA stadium in Bengaluru on Thursday.” It is a great opportunity for youngsters to talk to him about cricket and learn from him and move forward. So it will be a great time for us,” the opening batsman said further. Asked what he makes out of Kumble-Virat Kohli combination, Vijay said it would be early to make such a comment but expects to have great 12 months ahead for Indian cricket. “I can’t talk anything ahead of time. It will be too early to comment on that, but it is going to be great 12 months for us as a team – that much I can guarantee you. We are going to be up for it and we just want to be best in coming 12 months,” he said. Replying to a query, Vijay said the team had a great time with Ravi Shastri when he was Team Director and the players are certain to learn many tricks from Kumble. “We had a great time with Ravi Bhai, and Anil Bhai has picked up for now, and hopefully we can have good time with him and learn lot of things from him. He has been an unbelievable cricketer for India,” he said. ‘West Indies a great place to play cricket’ Asked about the difference playing the West Indies in their backyard, Vijay said it is going to be an entertaining series and will give boost to their confidence to take on New Zealand in the subsequent series at home. “It is a great place to play cricket because there is more fun and there is competition inside. So, we cannot ask for more as sportspersons. There is entertainment overall and we are looking forward for this series,” he said. Vijay further said, “It will be a confidence booster for us to play and perform and execute our plans. Thereafter, come back and play matches in the home series. So there is lot of stake for us.” Asked about the pressures of playing under venues like Kanpur and Indore, Vijay said it would be interesting to know the conditions there, but gave importance to acclimatisation of playing conditions as fast as possible.
“It doesn’t matter where we play and which venue we play. It is about how soon and how faster than the opponents you acclimatise to the playing conditions there. It is a great opportunity to see how it works in that side of the country,” he said. Asked how he is sharing his experience of playing in West Indies with the youngsters, Vijay said: “Last time I did not do well in West Indies, but the team did well. Hopefully I can pull it off this time”. Vijay said the rains played spoilsport at the camp here on day one but the team has had a good outing today. “It has been a couple of good days for us. As a team we have come to Bangalore with a purpose in sight. We are preparing for the West Indies series, the rains had played its bit though on the first day of the camp,” he said.
Hopeful of staying fit
On his individual preparation, Vijay said he would make sure he gets his basics right and show consistency in batting. “I have been to the West Indies three times before and I have a fair bit of idea of how it is going to be there … I am looking forward to stick to my basics and be as consistent as possible, hopefully, and if I can do that I will be happy at the end of it,” he said. However, the team has to be prepared for any eventuality and playing conditions the West Indies offers them during the tour, Vijay added. Talking about remaining fit for the next 17 matches in one year, Vijay said players are following a fitness regime and are hopeful of remaining fit throughout the season. “Definitely it (fitness) will play a major part on each and everybody. We are aware of it. We have our fitness regime and we are following and hopefully we can stay fit throughout the season,” he said.
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