Peers recognise potential of ‘India material’ Vihari

Gade Hanuma Vihari leaves for South Africa to join the India A squad backed by a wealth of goodwill and many well-wishers too.

Hanuma Vihari is “a good lad, a hard-working guy with good attitude and a willingness to learn,” according to Venugopal Rao.   -  Special Arrangement

Gade Hanuma Vihari leaves for South Africa to join the India A squad backed by a wealth of goodwill and many well-wishers too.

Y. Venugopala Rao, who watched him from close quarters during the ongoing KSCA tournament, felt Vihari had everything going for him to succeed against the Proteas. “Right now, with a good run of scores, he’s in a fine frame of mind,” the Vizag-born swashbuckler said.

And what tips did Venu, a seasoned hand on the international scene, have for the 23-year-old? “I told him to start enjoying the process and not set targets. Enjoy the overseas experience, the conditions. Don’t get desperate for runs, or your natural instincts will be curbed,” Venu had advised.

Having played with and against him, Venu sees in Vihari, “a good lad, a hard-working guy with good attitude and a willingness to learn.” Asked if Vihari had fallen short on the early promise he had shown from his India Under-19 days, Venu believed Vihari was beginning to fulfil his potential.

‘Backbone’

Andhra paceman Paidikalva Vijay Kumar finds in Vihari a good batsman and a solid cricketer. “He’s the backbone of our team and plays responsibly. He’s a good captain too, who relates well to all his team-mates,” said Vijay.

“Vihari is India material, for he has the temperament and technique to play at the highest levels,” is Andhra Ranji Manager M. S. Kumar’s vote of confidence. “A composed personality, he’s calm in any situation. Time and again he has proved himself for Hyderabad and Andhra with double-centuries and many knocks that fell 10 or 20 runs short of 200,” said the former left-hander of his side’s highest run-getter.

On the assignment ahead, the Andhra mentor has few doubts. “He will carry forward his KSCA performances to South Africa. His current form should do wonders for his confidence. The intimidating pitches there won’t pose problems for him, given his sound technique,” affirmed Kumar.