India's opening batsman Murali Vijay today (January 3) declared that he was "confident" and will play his "A game" against South Africa in the three-Test series starting Friday (January 5) in Cape Town.
The 33-year-old right-hander said the 22-yard pitch was "quite green" but added he was not sure how it would behave on the first day of the Test.
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"It is quite green. I don't how it is going to behave on day one. Hopefully it will be a good Test match to be a part of. We are looking forward to it," Vijay told reporters at Newlands stadium today.
When he was reminded about former skipper Graeme Smith's comments that South Africa is a tough place for openers, he agreed and added he was ready for the challenge.
"I have been here (South Africa) couple of times. It was challenging for opening batsman. As you know, the bounce, seam movement and the conditions, it is something really exciting for an opener to go out there and perform. I agree with him (Smith). It is difficult. At the same time you learn a lot of things. You have X-factors in your game which you can use when you get into a situation like that next time," the Tamil Nadu player said.
He further added, "My learning is better than him (Smith). Basically I am preparing myself to be little more open than I was last time. I just want to go out there and whatever is thrown at me, play my A game and do well for my country."
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To a question on which was more difficult to handle - swing or bounce, he said the former.
"Swing, I think. Personally I am able to manage bounce. When ball swings around it is difficult for any batsman," he opined.
On the role of Indian spinners on South African wickets, he said, "It is a very very important role because you have to support the fast bowlers. Spinners can come in big time if they can get a couple of wickets. It will be a great help for the rest (of the attack). We have quality spinners in our ranks and hopefully they can put up a good show."
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Vijay said he was confident going into the first Test. "I don't want to think too much as to what is going to happen in couple of days time. I just want to prepare myself and be in a confident state of mind, which I am at the moment, which is good for me and the team."
53-Test veteran Vijay is likely to partner Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order in Cape Town. Dhawan was today declared fit after suffering a minor ankle injury. KL Rahul is the third opener in India's 17-man squad.