Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who starts as India’s permanent Test captain, has said Tamil Nadu’s Murali Vijay will make his Test debut as an opener in the fourth and final Test against Australia.
Vijay, who was in the middle of a Ranji Trophy tie in which he scored a double century, was flown in on Tuesday as a replacement for Gautam Gambhir, whose one-Test ban was upheld by the ICC Appeals Commissioner.
“As of now, we are going with M Vijay,” Dhoni said at the pre-match press conference. “We have been lucky in the way that the people who were asked to fill in during various situations have stood up and performed, although it’s different in a normal scenario.”
Dhoni said the late decision to uphold Gambhir’s ban did unsettle the side. “He (Gambhir) has been crucial in this series because he was the form man for us. We have capitalised hugely with the starts he has given us. But we hope Vijay fills into his role well because he has been playing well in domestic cricket.”
The Indian captain, who took over from Anil Kumble who abruptly announced his retirement after the third Test in Delhi, said that the senior members of the side will all speak to Vijay as a last-minute motivation. “He has only joined the side today so we all seniors will speak to him one by one. However, we have to make sure that we don’t pressurise him. The opponents always look to pressurise a new player. But he seems to be confident because he has been doing well.”
Vijay had a long outing in the practice nets where he faced all Indian bowlers. The opener has been a prolific scorer in his short first-class career. “We have to go with the best available option we have. Things do come up at the last moment, but for now Vijay is on course to make his Test debut.”
Dhoni also said senior batsman Rahul Dravid was unable to train with the rest of the team on Wednesday because of flu, but added that he would be fit in time for the match.