India in Australia: Will get enough time to prepare for Test series, says Vihari

Hanuma Vihari, who has played nine Tests scoring 552 runs with a century and four fifties at an average of 36.80, last played a first-class match in March.

India cricketer Hanuma Vihari at his residence in Hyderabad.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Hanuma Vihari says there will be enough time to adapt and get back into the desired mode to take on the Aussies as the team will be playing a couple of practice games before the real action begins ‘Down Under’.

“Personally, it is all about mindset. I just want to be mentally and physically fresh in the run-up to the first Test and will use all the available opportunities including the warm-up games to get into the right frame of mind for the major challenges ahead,” the 27-year-old Vihari informed Sportstar on Saturday.

“Definitely, I must say it is not the kind of 100 per cent preparation I had before the tour because match practice is something totally different,” he said, reminding that his last first-class game happened to be the Test match in New Zealand this March before the pandemic started. “And, definitely, we have to work more on fitness and fielding once we land there,” he said.

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“It certainly takes time for anyone to be back to competitive cricket after such a long break. It is fine with batting and bowling which I have not missed in the last seven months thanks to the makeshift nets I had in my gated community,” Vihari reveals.

“Fortunately, for me I worked with our Indian team fielding coach R. Sridhar (also from Hyderabad) a lot on catching and fielding. So, that way, I don’t feel I am lagging too far behind except, I repeat, match practice,” he said.

On taking on the Australians at home, Vihari says it is going to be a different and more challenging series as some of the big names are back for them and are in form too.

“But, our captain (Virat Kohli) and the coach (Ravi Shastri) always ensure that we have a positive approach to any task on hand. This team is a different proposition when it comes to taking on the big teams on their home soil,” he said.

On Australian bowling attack, Vihari, who played nine Tests scoring 552 runs with a century and four fifties at an average of 36.80, says it is similar to what they faced last time. “And, of course, we have to expect quality opposition at this level for sure,” he added.

Pink-ball Test

The soft-spoken Vihari is all excited at the prospects of playing a pink ball Test. “Yes, it will be great to play in that pink ball Test at Adelaide. My earlier playing experience was only in the Duleep Trophy match. So, very eagerly waiting for that great experience,” he said.

“It is a different kind of challenge to play in a pink ball Test as it is said the ball swings more under lights. So, we have to make those minor adjustments and be ready for the challenges,” he said. On his targets, Vihari, who has 20 first-class centuries, says he wants to be a key performer in the Indian team which is aiming to clinch the prestigious ICC world Test championship.

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“This series is important to the Indian team and personally for me too. I just want to make the most of the chances that come my way and look far beyond this tour,” he said.

Vihari also said that it would be good to see such a big squad on the tour and this will be a new norm for sure because of the pandemic.

“Well, the bio-bubble will be another different kind of experience and will not be so easy as it looks from outside. There is a lot to do with the mental toughness and staying focussed on the game,” he concluded.

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