Vihari: ‘Have made a conscious effort to express my game’

Vihari was keen to display a classy show in keeping with his potential, even though he got out for just four on Monday against Karnataka.

An aggregate of 378 runs in Vijay Hazare tournament confirmed Hanuma Vihari’s form and the aggression that marks his batting now.   -  B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

His hitting was very purposeful. Each shot that came off his bat exuded Hanuma Vihari’s intent in his knock of 95 against India À’. He was keen to display a classy show in keeping with his potential even though he got out for just four on Monday against Karnataka.

It has been a splendid season for the Andhra stroke-maker – 752 runs in Ranji Trophy including a triple century. An aggregate of 378 runs in Vijay Hazare tournament confirmed his form and the aggression that marks his batting now.

“In the past, I was restricting my shots a little bit, but this year, I have made a conscious effort to express my game. Even if I fail a few times, my intent and strike rate has to go up. Maybe, the IPL snub was one of the reasons I realised that if I don’t take my strike rate up, people won’t recognise my efforts,” he said here.

Being ignored for the IPL hurt the 24-year-old Vihari. “It does hurt a bit, to be honest. If I say it doesn’t hurt, it won’t be coming from ‘inside.’ However, some things are not in my control, so I keep it that way,” he added.

READ: Deodhar Trophy: Vihari, bowlers star in India B's thumping win

The decision to shift from Hyderabad to Andhra was a critical one for Vihari. “I wasn’t getting much exposure there. I made my debut for Hyderabad at 16. I have to thank them, but I wanted to play at a higher level, and I was not getting that push from Hyderabad, for some reason. It has been a good change so far for me.”

Thus far, it has worked well for Vihari. “I enjoy that. When I played for Hyderabad it was the same. Although I was very young the batting depended on me. I used to bat at No 3 there. I really enjoyed that challenge, because you know that the team is depending on you. It gives me real satisfaction if I can make Andhra win. Most people call us underdogs, but we actually enjoy that tag. We know we are a team which can play good cricket,” he says.

A key factor in Vihari regaining his confidence was the tour to South Africa last year with the India `A’ team. “I got a good experience there playing alongside some international players. Touring with an ‘A’ side gives you the confidence to perform at the level below.”

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