Vihari’s consistency rewarded

Been waiting for this day, he says on his India call-up.

Determined: G. Hanuma Vihari says he is aware of what is expected of him and ready for the challenge.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Hanuma Vihari, Andhra Ranji captain and middle-order batsman who received his maiden Test call-up for the final two Tests of the series against England, says that it is the consistency over the last two years that really helped him realise the ultimate dream of playing for India.

Read: 'This is the moment I have been waiting for'

“I was just feeling this call could be around the corner. But, still, I must admit, it was a kind of a surprise to get it this evening as I was preparing for the India-A game tomorrow,” he said.

Read: Prithvi Shaw high on India selection news

“More than anything else, it has been the consistency. And, I owe a lot to my mother [Vijayalakshmi], all the coaches, especially Sridhar sir [Indian fielding coach R. Sridhar] and John sir (K. John Manoj at St. John’s Coaching Foundation in Secunderabad where he learnt the art of cricket since his early days),” he said in a chat with Sportstar.

Yet to sink in

“Frankly, the feeling of being selected to the Indian team is yet to sink in. I am struggling to control my emotions. I have been waiting for this day for long,” 24-year-old Vihari said.

“I don’t play IPL and thus it is not easy to get into the limelight that easily. So, I have to come through the tougher and longer route of scoring consistently in First Class cricket which is never easy,” he says.

“Right now, I don’t want to think too far ahead. I am grateful to the selection panel for showing so much faith in me. And having played in England for the India-A team recently, I am aware what is expected of me and how to counter the challenges there,” he said.

“Well, Sachin sir [Sachin Tendulkar] has always been my inspiration. All I look for is to do well when given the chances,” says Vihari who switched over to Andhra from Hyderabad in 2016.

Read: Shaw and Vihari rewarded for being consistent, says Prasad

“The big difference I see in myself is the mindset. I have a better understanding of my batting, reading the game better. And, the century (148) against South Africa-A in the recent four-day ‘Test’ was one I badly needed playing for India-A,” he said.

Vihari insists that having played for Hyderabad at a very young age, he got the basics right. “What has clearly changed is the way I am thinking about the game in any given situation,” he signed off.