Rahul Dravid told me I’ve got the skillset and temperament – Hanuma Vihari

Rahul Dravid told me I’ve got the skillset and temperament – Hanuma Vihari
  • 1

Late on Saturday, when Hanuma Vihari walked down the steps from the dressing room onto the field, he had to stand a few minutes on his own while his captain skirted off for a toilet break. India had lost the quick wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to slip to 103 for 4, and though Virat Kohli was going strong, he was annoyed at the mistakes of all his top-order batsman.
Vihari was quiet, but nervous. Kohli soon returned and patted him on his shoulder to wish him luck as the debutant prepared to face his first ball in international cricket.
Vihari would have wanted to walk in at a better time. Whatever thoughts were crowding in his mind, he had to banish them as that first ball in Test cricket was due to be bowled by James Anderson, a man who had been piqued by umpire Kumar Dharmasena after his refusal of a close call for lbw against Kohli.
Anderson bowled full and swung it away. Vihari leaned forward and dead-batted it. In that first stroke, Vihari showed his willingness to play the ball and not get hindered by doubts. His journey in international cricket had begun.
He might have been shaky and nervous on that initial evening, but this morning Vihari was far more composed and confident in his defence and strokeplay. His head had been falling away yesterday and he was vulnerable against the inswinging ball. But today he looked far more balanced and would go to crack a half-century in his maiden Test innings and emulate a pair of former Indian captains, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, the last two men to have achieved a similar feat in their first innings in England.
Crucially, his 77-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Ravindra Jadeja, the highest by India’s lower order in this Test series, brought India back in the final Test.
On his nervous beginning
Initially I felt the pressure, to be honest. Going in yesterday, cloudy conditions and Stuart Broad and (James) Anderson bowling at you. I had nerves. With that, I wasn’t good with my decision-making. But having Virat at the other made my job a little easier, I guess. His inputs helped me initially. He’s been playing very confidently throughout the series and he’s confidence boosted me at the other end.
I will give a lot of credit to him for helping me out yesterday initially. But once I settled down, the wicket was very good to bat on, especially with the medium-pacers. It got a lot slower yesterday.