Andhra Pradesh all-rounder Hanuma Vihari received a memorable welcome at Hyderabad Airport on his arrival from England, as the right-hander made his way out under an arch of bats held up by budding cricketers here.
Hanuma made a memorable international debut for India in the recently concluded Test series in England. He was given golden opportunity to play his maiden Test against England in the final and the all-rounder also made the most of the given opportunity by getting 56 runs against the odds and picked three wickets in his Test debut. However, India could not win this match, lost series 4-1 to the hosts.
It was really a big moment for Vihari to sport the national colors in England and the batsman credited his mother Vijayalakshmi and Mentor K. John Manoj for helping him to reach this level.
It is known how difficult to break it into the national squad but Hanuma revealed he got a clear hint that he would be in the playing XI a couple of days before the match at The Oval.
As per reports in Sport Star Live, Hanuma said on Friday (September 14), “Making your debut in England is quite a feeling. I was mentally prepared for the big occasion. I was not overawed but that unique feeling of donning India colours was there. It was a big moment for me. It is not easy to make a debut in this strong Indian team. I was conscious of the expectations.”
Commenting on Captain Virat Kohli, the 24-year-old said, “When I went in to bat, he asked me to just enjoy the moment and bat as freely and confidently as you have been doing in domestic cricket. That was great on my captain's part.”
He further added, “I am grateful to every member of the team for making me feel comfortable, special thanks to my mom (Vijayalakshmi) who sacrificed so much to help me reach this level and John sir (K. John Manoj at St. John's Foundation where he learnt the basics).”
On being asked about ‘dissenting voices’ on his selection, he said, “I knew there would be different opinions on my Test debut. But, my job was to do well when given the opportunity. I walked in a difficult situation with the England bowlers bowling really well. I started playing well after the early hiccups. Disappointed that I could not convert the fifty into a big hundred. But, I am still happy to get a fifty in my first Test innings which I feel could well be the big moment when I look ahead.”
Vihari dismissed England Test captain Joe Root and Alastair Cook in his debut Test, but he is more happy for removing Cook on his last Test than Root, saying he will remember him forever. He further added with a big smile, “Mind you they are the two best batsmen in England. I am glad to get Cook in his last Test match. I think he would remember me forever.”
He signed off by saying, “It was a disappointing second innings with the bat for me. I got a good ball but I will not offer that as an excuse. Will strive for better consistency, as I hope to cement my place in the Indian team.”