West Indies tour was crucial for me, says Hanuma Vihari

Hanuma Vihari, who scored his maiden Test hundred in West Indies said that it was important for him to grab the opportunities.

Hanuma Vihari after getting to his maiden Test hundred in Kingston.   -  AP Photo

High on confidence after being the lead performer with the bat in the just-concluded Test series in West Indies, Hanuma Vihari said that it was important for him to come up with substantial contributions to cement his place in the Indian team.

“It was definitely a crucial tour for me and the first objective was to seize the opportunities that came my way,” Vihari told Sportstar from the West Indies.

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“Well, the 93 in the second innings of the first Test gave me lot of confidence. Though I was disappointed at missing the century, I was glad that I could contribute my bit to a winning cause on a difficult wicket,” he said.

Coach Shastri's inputs

Vihari said the conditions in West Indies were a mix of England (seam and swing) and Australia (bounce). “If you have noticed most of them were 250-plus wickets and I think we did really well to score 400-plus in the series,” he said.

“But, I must say one simple advice by Ravi Sir (head coach Ravi Shastri) to correct my stance as he felt I was standing more upright and let the knees be more flexible made a lot of difference on this West Indies tour,” the 25-year-old Vihari said.

“Naturally, I was waiting for the big day - to score my maiden Test century. Looking at the conditions, I felt it was an important knock,” Vihari said.

Keep doing well

On the forthcoming South Africa Test series at home, he likes to take every match as his first Test and not think too much ahead. “It is always good to take any tournament or series match by match. Hope to do well again,” he added.

Reflecting on his captain Virat Kohli’s comment that the dressing room feels calm when Vihari bats, the smiling Andhra batsman felt it was a huge compliment and also means bigger responsibility in the days to come.

Also read: Vihari dedicates maiden ton to late father

“To be honest, to be given a chance ahead of others itself meant the kind of confidence the team management had in me. So, the onus is on me to keep doing well," he said.

Looking further back when he moved over to Andhra from Hyderabad three seasons ago, Vihari says that it was one of the biggest decisions he had to take. “I must say things have changed a lot for the good after going to Andhra. That gave me good space of mind to stay focussed. I must thank everyone in the Andhra Cricket Association for the way they welcomed me, encouraged me in the last three years. I owe a lot to them.”