The influence of Hanuma Vihari for a score in a longer form was evident in the just-completed Iran Cup when it scored two centuries against Vidarbha. The 25-year talks with K. Krishnan about his trip so far. Quotes:
Playing home cricket after playing in India in the trials, what's the difference in approach?
Nothing changes. It's how you see playing domestic cricket again. I think it's very important to come back to home cricket and perform the same way I was before, because from this I came from playing domestic cricket, playing well and coming to the international side. So, I can not make domestic cricket for granted because that's where my folks belong. That's where we tested our performances and I'll keep playing every time I get the chance.
How much trust do you have to have so many first-rate runs under your belt that give you the chance to go to the bat for Team India?
This gives you impetus because you know that you have earned your point internationally. Having played so much cricket in the first-class circuit, it helps with confidence and when the pressure situation comes, it helps keep you calm. You know you're in such situations many times in domestic cricket. You just have to exercise this pressure and try to turn the situation into a positive one.
Many say that the score runs on domestic cricket and in international cricket is a different ball game. How did you find it?
Volume levels are different. Obviously, you are going to play against the best players in the country. And, expectations are high with so many people watching. These are the outer things that come into play. But when you go to the ground, they are the same sets of skills. Mindset is what differentiates between a domestic and an international player, how powerful you are mentally and how you are able to cope with the situations. It's a big step from home cricket. I have learned this very quickly on an international level. I have to be at this level steady for a long time.
Also, playing for India "A" and learning from Rahul Dravid has made this transition smooth from home to Test level, is not it?
Yes definitely. In the last two years, whenever I have the opportunity to play under it, it was a wonderful experience. Not only did I play, but I learned a lot not only about the game but also about how to bring myself to the ground because he (Dravid) sets as an example as coach how he transfers himself. He himself sits in your game and the person is, sitting on your face. Surely I got a lot out of him about how he used to go about his batting and how he exercised himself on the ground. I learned a lot at the Institute of India and definitely helped me when I climbed the ladder on the international stage.
What has taught you the Indian wardrobe?
It was good. Standards are really high in terms of skill sets, expectations, goals we set for fitness levels. It's high enough. Everything is a professional organization, we have the fun, we enjoy the success of the other. Everything is positive right now. I have been waiting for many more years in the Indian toilet.
How did Melbourne take part in the Melbourne test for the first time and was cut for about half an hour?
On the domestic level, I steal the top of the order. So playing a new ball is not something that is very different from me. Obviously, at the international level, opening the strike is a different scenario. This is a pressure situation, especially at the point of the series that was one and everything to play. I'm glad I could do a job for the team. I set my expectations high. I know I could go on and have a big score. But, regardless of the team that asked me, I could do it initially. I'm glad I could do it.
Captain Kohli signaled your hit to see the new ball as important as some others who contributed to the Indian victory. How did that feel?
The way you go in the middle, when you watch from the other end, gives you confidence. When someone so surely beats and dominates the bowling, you get the confidence of it. And seeing the bat, you can learn a lot of things, how do you get the bonuses. It was a good experience so far. In my debut the championship that was beaten with him, I learned a lot. I'm really glad I could share a dressing room with him.
Can you remember how it came out to open with Mayank Agarwal debut on an almost full of Melbourne cricket ground on the first day of the Boxing Day morning test?
Before I went with the bat, I was nervous. As soon as I was in the middle, I did not see anything else. I was just focusing on the ball and concentrating on what I was supposed to do right now. Indeed, once you go to the ground, you have to focus on what you need to do and nothing else.
Ending all the others and focusing on the job at hand, opening up for the first time only your third test is easier than it did, is not it?
It does not come naturally, I guess. You have to develop it as a young person when you play in age groups and first class, what works for you to focus on the game and focus for long periods of time. The critical cricket match is something you should focus on for six or seven hours a day for a period of five days. It takes a lot of mental energy from you. It becomes a habit after a time, how to focus and when you can really erase. It's a habit you develop as a young man.
What is your philosophy to fight?
My philosophy was always simple. When I hit the Test Test or in the four-day format, I try to beat as much as possible. I want the batsman to win my wicket, I do not give my wicket easily even after I score a hundred. This has always been my philosophy to play as much as possible for the team. I'm proud of the game for a long time and playing time in four cricket days, because that's not something that everyone can really do.
Do you see yourself in Cheteshwar Pujara mold in his patience to score and see the ball carefully?
Obviously, I try to play time like me, but I play my shots too. I do not hesitate to play my shots like in the Iranian Cup, the high shot or a sweep or even the reverse sweep. I know when and where to play the shots depending on the situation. I try to play more percentages. I admire Pujara as a cricket, the way she goes, but I do not compare myself because I have a different skill in what she has.
Who are you looking at?
I have many crickets whom I admire in modern times. Sachin Tendulkar was my idol when I started playing cricket. Virat and others are there from the modern era, but AB de Villiers is my favorite place. I look to him. He dominated all three forms.
How has life changed since you chose India?
Not very cricketing-wise. I just keep it simple and simple to try to make a bat. From the field, it has changed a bit but not too much.
What were your differences in playing in England and Australia?
The conditions were quite different, such as chalk and cheese. England was something with swinging and seaming conditions that you had to deal with completely different from the conditions in Australia, which was to bounce. You should adapt to these conditions. Knowledge of these is important. Luckily for me, I was part of an India tour of 'A' in England before. I had a chance there for 40 days in England before selecting Test. I was well prepared. I knew when I had an opportunity, not necessarily in England, but anytime soon, because I did well, I would do well. Fortunately, I took the opportunity in England and everything is history after that.
It is often said to be the man with the golden hand. Have you considered bowling on a regular basis?
I always used to bowl in smaller form for the state team, not regularly but as a part-time job. I know I could get some wickets whenever the team wanted. I never thought I could make bowls in trials and pick up wickets. That happened.
Of your five Test entries, 4 were top batsmen, including Alastair Cook in her latest international entries. Sure, they were not lucky and there is some effort behind these wickets, is not it?
This is something I really do not know. I just keep working on it and I am improving so that not only myself but also the team will benefit. It balances the team. If I can contribute, that will be nice.
You set a record of the Iran Cup – 3 centuries in consecutive stakes and I joined Shikhar Dhawan, as only the second batsman scored a century in each of the games of an Iranian cup game. Can He Hit Into Home Cricket Easy After Playing Cricket Test?
I will not say it is easy. But it gives confidence. After playing Test cricket, it gives you the confidence that you belong to the next level from the domestic set up. This trust makes a difference. I just wanted to sleep as long as possible. It was not easy to come back to play domestic cricket. There are people's expectations. The confidence of the game in the cricket test has made home cricket a little easy. I had to go out and finish and I'm happy with the way I played in this game. I did not think of the Iran Cup record, but when I met, I'm proud of them.
Does it exert pressure on you to score runs every time you go out to bat?
Honestly, I do not really think. I think about the situation and bat accordingly. Do not think what people expect.
What goals have you set for you?
Right now, I just want all the forms for India and play as much as possible. Representing India in the World Cup will be the ultimate thing and winning for India will be the icing on the cake.
HANUMA VIHARI IN NUMES:
|100s / 50s||0/1||17/27|
YOU KNEW THAT?
- Hanuma Vihari's first two wickets on Test cricket began successive releases on his debut, that of centurions Joe Root and Alastair Cook in the second appearances at The Oval