Statistics might not indicate a great tour of Australia for him, but Hanuma Vihari did his job with a good effect as India clinched its first-ever Test series victory down under. In a bid to solve India’s opening woes, Vihari was sent up the order — from No. 6 — to face the fearsome Aussie pace attack.
Subsequently, the right-hander impressed one and all by seeing off the new ball with debutant Mayank Agarwal at a jam-packed Melbourne Cricket Ground on the Boxing Day. He also took two wickets in Australia’s first innings during the second Test at Perth.
After returning to India, Vihari reflected on Australia tour in an exclusive interview with Sportstar.
“You get to know the intensity how cricket is played in Australia. It is never easy. When playing international cricket, you have to be in the game throughout. You can’t afford to relax. My only aim was to see off the new ball for the team. After that, if the team could score some runs, that would be a bonus. I did the initial part but later, I couldn’t cash in and get those runs. But I was happy that I could do the job for my team,” Hanuma quoted.
When asked how challenging it was to face the Aussie pace battery, Vihari said: “They have one of the best bowling attacks in the world. They were bowling very well. The line was tight and they never gave anything easy. We had to work our way to the runs. I think we have played them better. Pat Cummins was outstanding throughout the series. He contributed with the bat as well. He was always in the game, fighting hard for his team. It was good to see someone so competitive from whom you can learn.”
During the IPL 2019 auction last month, Hanuma Vihari was roped in by Delhi Capitals for 2 Crore. He has entered into the auction with a base price of 50 Lakh.
Talking about his training methods to now get into the T20 zone, Vihari stated: “It is mostly about the mindset. I have the T20 game. You have to adapt quickly to different formats and that’s only in the mind. The skill-sets will always be there. I have to adjust quickly and play accordingly.”
Since India won’t play any Test match in the near future, Vihari would have to maintain the flow by featuring in domestic cricket.
Revealing his plans, the 25-year-old said: “I will keep working on my game. It is a good time to sit and think where I need to improve. I will look forward to the matches coming up. There will be a few domestic games (Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament), which will be a good preparation for the IPL. I want to take my game to the next level. Once the Test season comes, there should be a difference from what I was in Australia.”
When asked if he sees himself in India’s limited-overs teams in the future, Vihari asserted: “Definitely. I have done well in the one-day format in domestic cricket, and for India A. I will be looking forward to play all three formats if given a chance.”
He concluded by talking about his off-spin bowling.
“I want to work on my consistency and the areas where I bowl. It will be a good addition for the team if I could bowl those overs. I want to keep improving,” Vihari signed-off.