Vihari: Speaking to Dravid eased my nerves

G. Hanuma Vihari who scored a fifty on debut credited India-A coach Rahul Dravid for his success.

Hanuma Vihari plays a shot en route to his maiden half-century.   -  GETTY IMAGES

A phone call to India-A coach Rahul Dravid one day before the fifth Test helped him ease his nerves, G. Hanuma Vihari said.

The Andhra batsman scored 56 on debut at the Oval, rescuing India from a perilous situation.

"I called him (Dravid) the day before and told him I was making my debut," Vihari said after the third day's play.

"He spoke to me for a couple of minutes and it eased my nerves a little bit, because it’s coming from a legend and you know that you belong here. He just told me, 'You have the skill set, you have the mind-set and the temperament, just go out there and enjoy yourself.' I'd like to give him a lot of credit because my journey with India-A has been important in my coming here."

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Vihari, who survived a couple of close shouts before he had even gotten off the mark, admitted that he had been nervous.

"Initially, I felt the pressure," he said. "I was nervous. Nerves make you do unusual things. If I settle down nicely, I don't think any ball will cause me trouble. On Saturday, I had problems facing the incoming delivery but Virat gave me some cues so that I could play it comfortably. But once I settled down, the wicket was good to bat on."

Vihari has played in the IPL for two seasons, in 2013 and 2015, but not played a game since.

"If I get picked in the IPL, I will definitely play," he said. "But my only route coming into the Indian team is grinding through the domestic circuit. I have to score big runs to be recognized. Also, I'm coming from Andhra. People don't recognize those states as much as the other states. So I try to get big scores, I try to bat patiently.”

When Vihari top-edged Ben Stokes for six on Saturday evening, the bowler had had a few words to say to him before Kohli intervened.

“He (Kohli) also had a go at him and that’s how the game is played nowadays; that's how Indian cricket is now,” he said.

“Obviously if it gets personal then I might say something back. But as long as it’s healthy, then everyone likes to have some banter on the field. My style of play is to ignore that and focus on my own game.”

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