Hanuma Vihari has played all his Test matches outside India and is now eagerly looking forward to the series against South Africa next month, his first on the home soil.
Vihari, who emerged as India’s top run-getter against the West Indies in the two-Test series with 289 runs, was satisfied that his patience on tricky surfaces has paid off.
“I have not played a Test at home, looking forward to it. It’s great to play in front of the home crowd back in India,” said Vihari, who is expected to feature in the first Test against the Proteas on his home ground in Visakhapatnam.
The 25-year-old Andhra batsman got man-of-the-match award for his century and half-century in India’s 257-run win in the second Test. In fact, he was itching to get one after missing out by seven runs in the first game.
“It feels great to score my maiden Test century. I missed out on a hundred in the last match, so I was focusing on a big score this time. We were 200 for 5 and that was my goal while batting with Rishabh (Pant),” Vihari said, at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“We had to be patient on this wicket as there was something in it for the fast bowlers. I was trying to take calculative risk against spinners, that was the game plan and it worked well for me.”
Shastri’s advice helped
Vihari has also credited his success to Ravi Shastri, saying the India head coach’s advice not to stay upright but flex the knee while batting helped him notch up his maiden century. “He (Shastri) was talking about flexing my knees a little bit, I was a little upright in the first innings, so flexing my knees meant I could move my foot both on front and back foot.
“It worked out very well and a lot of credit should go to him,” Vihari told India fielding coach R Sridhar during an interview, the video of which was posted by BCCI on its website.
“I relish batting under pressure because that is the challenge you have to accept as a batsman and these situations brings the best out of me,” said the Andhra batsman, who had scored a 93 in the first Test in North Sound.
“I feel I try to focus on what the situation is, and have a certain game plan and I was fortunate enough to have good partnerships with Jinx (Ajinkya Rahane). He batted beautifully as well.”
Vihari said he was confident of a good outing during the two-match Test series against the West Indies as he had spent enough time on these pitches during the last two months with the India A team.
“I was in really good space. I have been in Caribbean for last two months, I have been practicing and playing matches on this wicket,” he said.
“So I was really confident and I think I played well in the practice match and it gave me that extra boost. I was looking forward to this series and I am happy it went well.”
In his first year in international cricket, Vihari has played six Tests but he seemed to have lost a bit of hair, got married and has also scored 6000 plus first class runs despite being just 25 years of age.
“I started my first class cricket quite early and that’s why I could score 6000 runs. I don’t know about the hair, may be too much batting from childhood,” he said with a laugh.
”... That experience will count, batting for nine years in first class cricket, and it helped me in pressure situation.”
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