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Setbacks have made me a better person: Hanuma Vihari

Vihari has played just one Test match for India.

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

India’s newcomer Hanuma Vihari, who has represented his country in a single Test match, is looking ahead at upcoming episodes in his cricketing career. He made his Test debut against England in the fifth and final Test at The Oval earlier this year. After overcoming early jitters, he made a fifty in his very first Test appearance. Vihari also claimed three wickets in quick succession later in that match.

Although he didn’t find a place in India’s XI for the home series against the Windies, the right-hander was able to celebrate his 25th birthday with the side. Vihari was brought into the Indian Test squad for the last two Tests against England. They decided to give a more technically sound batter a go ahead of all-rounder Hardik Pandya at The Oval. In testing conditions and under pressure, Vihari did not disappoint. He was rewarded with a spot in India’s squad for the Windies Test series.

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Vihari’s career has been defined by many a setback. He lost his father in 2005 when he was 12 and was later dropped from Under-13s state side. He failed to break into the India U19 squad for the 2012 Under-19 World Cup but was eventually picked as a last-minute replacement for the injured Manan Vohra.

He had a dismal IPL in 2015 playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, as he could just score 39 runs in four innings. He hasn’t been a part of the IPL since, but Vihari believes these incidents have had a clear and positive effect on his career.

Setbacks to define a career

“These setbacks have made me a better person. Once you reflect on it, it will make you more humble and whatever you achieve, you have to keep going consistently and not relax or get complacent. But those are things, which make you stronger. If you are strong enough, it can make you a stronger person. Otherwise, you crumble. That is the choice I had. Every international player has a story. This is my story,” he said in an interview with ESPNcricinfo.

Vihari has now displayed that he can play the power game in limited-overs cricket as well. Representing Andhra Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare Trophy against Hyderabad, he smashed a 99-ball 95, laced with 4 massive sixes. The batsman was instrumental in Andhra’s qualification for the semi-finals in the 2017-18 season of the domestic tournament. He scored 378 runs in eight innings at an average of 54, striking it at just under 104.

“My mindset has also changed in limited-overs cricket. I want to be more aggressive. I have a formula in the four-day format, which I don’t want to change much. But in the one-dayers and T20s, I want to be more expressive; I know I have the shots. I want to be the X-factor in the team. I just don’t want to contribute to the team score but I also want to win matches. With my game, I want to create some fear in the opposition when I’m there in the crease,” he said.

Hanuma Vihari will have to wait and see whether he will be picked for India’s important Test series against Australia later this year.

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