Colombo: Indian opener Murali Vijay has been ruled out for the first Test match against Sri Lanka with a mild hamstring strain. Team India Director Ravi Shastri announced this on Monday. India will play a three-Test match series against Sri Lanka. The first match begins on Aug 12 at Galle. Vijay picked up the niggle in Zimbabwe during India’s recent three-match One-Day International series and T20I series.
He did not come out to bat in both innings of India’s only warm-up match against Sri Lanka Board President’s XI in Colombo as a precautionary measure. India drew the three-day preparatory match. “To ensure that the niggle is not further aggravated, the Indian team management has decided to give him rest for the first Test starting on August 12 in Galle,” Shastri said on Monday. Vijay’s absence paves the way for India to play Karnataka right-hander K.L. Rahul as regular opener left-hander Shikhar Dhawan’s opening pair. Rahul had missed the drawn one-off Test against Bangladesh in June due to dengue.
Rahul scored a century in his second Test in Sydney against Australia last year. Vijay has been India’s most consistent batsman over the last year and a half, scoring centuries in England, Australia and Bangladesh. In 32 Tests Vijay has scored 2338 runs with an average of 41.75 and six centuries. Shastri said Vijay’s absence is a big blow to the team. “He’s the in form player, he’s had a fabulous run in Test cricket. He will be missed because he’s an experienced player now,” Shastri said. Vijay underwent fitness drills separately on Monday but it proved he was not fit enough for the first Test.