Won’t mind taking up the opener’s role if the team management asks, says Hanuma Vihari
Whatever has been asked of him by the management, the Andhra cricketer has done it to the best of his ability.
Updated - Feb 14, 2020 3:06 pm
Team India kickstarted their preparations for the upcoming two-match Test series against New Zealand with a three-day practice game against New Zealand XI at Seddon Park in Hamilton. India batted first and once again the fragility of their top-order was exposed to the hilt with each of Mayank Agarwal , Prithvi Shaw  and Shubman Gill  falling against the seam and bounce of Scott Kuggeleijn.
India were reeling at 3-5 which quickly became 4-39 after Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed by Jimmy Neesham. India desperately needed a partnership and they got it in the form of a 195-run-stand between Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari. While Pujara was dismissed for 93, Vihari went on to rack up a three-figure score when most of the guys didn’t even register a double-digit score.
Vihari has been an ideal team man. Whatever has been asked of him by the management, the Andhra cricketer has done it to the best of his ability. So, with India struggling with their opening pair, will he open the innings by the need arises, as it did during the MCG Test in 2018-19? Vihari is certainly up for it.
“As a player, I am prepared to bat anywhere. As of now, I’ve not been informed anything. As I said before as well if the team requires me to bat wherever I am ready to bat,” said Vihari, who retired after scoring 101 off 182 balls as quoted by Republic.
Hanuma Vihari unfazed by the lack of opportunities
Vihari was the leading run-scorer- 289 runs in 4 innings at 96.33- in the last Test series, he played back in August. The right-hander didn’t play a single Test in the home season with India slotting in all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja at the No.6 spot. But Vihari understands the dynamics of the team combination and wasn’t disheartened by it.
“Sometimes you have to understand the team combination as well. You can’t get disheartened by it. I understood when you are playing at home, we play five bowlers. It’s obvious that one batter has to miss out. So I took it in my stride. I don’t want to prove anything to anyone but just follow the process,” Vihari said.
Vihari was surprised by the extra bounce from the Seddon Park surface but revealed it got easier after he got his eye in. He also said that Team India needed a prolonged partnership and that’s what he did by sticking to the crease along with Pujara.
“Initially, I thought the extra bounce surprised us. (In) the couple of matches I played against New Zealand A, the pitch didn’t do as much as what it did in the morning today. Once we adjusted, I and Puji (Pujara’s nickname), we got our eye in, then we knew we had to bat long and that’s exactly what we did,” Vihari said after the end of day’s play.
If the pitch at Seddon Park is any indication, New Zealand might dish out similar surfaces in the Test series, something Vihari echoed as well. He feels that its good that the team got the chance to adjust to such conditions.
“Maybe we will get pitches like these because New Zealand’s strength is their fast bowling. They have a very experienced bowling attack but it’s good that we got some time in the middle and we experienced these conditions. They were tough and it’s good to experience tough conditions before the series and we’re happy with the way the day went,” he said.