Hanuma Vihari: My job was to do well when given the opportunity

Vihari says it is not easy to make a debut in this strong Indian team.

Indian cricketer Hanuma Vihari showing the priceless India cap to his mother Vijayalakshmi in Hyderabad.   -  Special Arrangement

Hanuma Vihari feels he belongs in the big league and all he needs now is to take one Test at a time, stay focused and keep improving.

For someone who had a decent debut at The Oval last week, Vihari revealed he got a clear hint that he would be in the playing XI a couple of days before the match.

“I was mentally prepared for the big occasion. I was not overawed but that unique feeling of donning India colours was there. It was a big moment for me,” said the Andhra captain (having moved over from Hyderabad in 2016 to Andhra).

“It is not easy to make a debut in this strong Indian team. I was conscious of the expectations,” he said.

Kohli’s advice

Vihari said Virat Kohli, the non-striker when he went in to bat, asked him to “just enjoy the moment and bat as freely and confidently as you have been doing in domestic cricket. That was great on my captain's part."

“I am grateful to every member of the team for making me feel comfortable, special thanks to my mom (Vijayalakshmi) who sacrificed so much to help me reach this level and John sir (K. John Manoj at St. John's Foundation where he learnt the basics),” said Vihari.

“I knew there would be different opinions on my Test debut. But, my job was to do well when given the opportunity,” said the 24-year-old when asked about ‘dissenting voices’ on his selection.

“I walked in a difficult situation with the England bowlers bowling really well. I started playing well after the early hiccups. Disappointed that I could not convert the fifty into a big hundred,” he said.

“But, I am still happy to get a fifty in my first Test innings which I feel could well be the big moment when I look ahead,” added Vihari.

On his twin strikes

On removing England captain Joe Root and Alastair Cook, Vihari recalled that since the two were trying to do something special in that phase, he looked to bowl in the right areas to get a wicket.

“Mind you they are the two best batsmen in England. I am glad to get Cook in his last Test match. I think he would remember me forever,” Vihari said with a big smile.

“It was a disappointing second innings with the bat for me. I got a good ball but I will not offer that as an excuse. Will strive for better consistency as I hope to cement my place in the Indian team” he said.