New Delhi, December 1: India opener Murali Vijay is relieved that his "off-the field friendship" with KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan has helped him deal with sensitive selection matters with ease.
Dhawan and Rahul scored 94 and 79 in the second innings of the first Test on a green top where Vijay - India's most technically equipped opener was dropped.
With Dhawan taking a break in the second Test, it was Vijay, who made a successful comeback with a patient hundred.
"We three are very good friends off the field and that makes it much easier. Definitely, it unsettles (when one is dropped) the opener, who is playing regularly. Obviously, we three share a good rapport outside the field and this will help us big time during the (South Africa) series coming ahead and future," Vijay said.
The Tamil Nadu opener revealed that sharing feelings about selection openly with each other helps them to move on rather than keeping things brewing inside.
So when one among the three is dropped, how do they deal with such a situation?
Vijay said: "Make it easier, lighter and more fun (for the other). Talking about it openly and having a good chat over it rather than keeping things within yourself and making the other person feel it."
The 33-year-old said whenever he and Dhawan have faced such a situation, they thrashed it out and moved on.
"It's better off going in the open. Like whatever I feel or Shikhar feels, we put it out in the open, so that it comes off and we move forward," he said.
"Basically, we are fun-loving people and we do things together. We have good times outside the field, which is really helping us as a team."
In his mind, Vijay has already started preparing for the South Africa tour and the old school practice of knocking against tennis ball to cope with bounce was an example.
"I tried to do something different in practice so that it challenges me. I try to be better each and every day possible. That's the whole concept of doing that."
With Tamil Nadu out of Ranji Trophy, Vijay plans to focus on fitness and skill development in the next three weeks before leaving for South Africa.