While becoming one of domestic cricket's most prolific run-getters for Andhra Pradesh, young Hanuma Vihari would've dreamt of playing for India someday but he would never have imagined that his debut will come in as adverse circumstances as he came across as The Oval.
When Vihari arrived at the crease on fall of the fourth wicket, he was not only against one of the best Test bowling pairs ever on a spicy surface under a tricky situation, he was facing his own nervous self as well.
But Vihari had two things going for him, the experience of having overcome many tough obstacles on his way to this level and one of the world's best batsmen, Virat Kohli at the other end.
“I was blank at that moment. It felt like a different world altogether — going out there to face James Anderson and Stuart Broad. I have been watching them on TV from a young age. And then to be suddenly facing them felt surreal,” Vihari emphasized in an interview given to Firstpost.
This is when Virat, who proved his greatness as a player on this tour and is batting better than ever, talked to Vihari and in an inspiring mid-pitch conversation, boosted the confidence of a 24-year-old.
"It was difficult in the initial period. Kohli helped me a bit from the other end. He gave me few cues which helped me initially. He told me that this is the hardest conditions you will get in international cricket. Nothing comes close to this." Vihari revealed, "If you go through this spell by Anderson and Broad, it will be a good experience in your first Test innings. The words gave me a lot of confidence,"
Vihari eventually scored a very fine 56, which should see him being given a longer rope batting at no.6 but the composed youngster knows, the challenge at this level is very different from the ones he has faced so far.
"The intensity of the game is very different than what you play at India A. The importance of each ball is much more at the international level than at any other level." he said and added, "I am well prepared for my next tour as I know what needs to be done to match that intensity. It will give me a better chance of performing."
"I want to improve as a bowler(too). If you have a batsman in top six who can bowl, it makes a huge difference for a team. I have started bowling a lot now. And will look to focus more and more on it. This can help the team as well as me in the long run," he concluded.