Skipper Kohli’s praise icing on cake for Vihari

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New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Fresh from his exploits in the Caribbean Islands, India’s middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari has his eyes on earning a ODI spot in the team and wants to continue doing well in white flannels.

Vihari top-scored for India with 289 runs in four innings as India cruised to a 2-0 series whitewash over a hapless West Indies side who were no match to them.

Vihari batted at No. 6 and looked his own as he notched up his first hundred and also became the first Indian batsman since Sachin Tendulkar in 1990 to score a century and a fifty in the same Test while batting at No. 6 or lower.

Speaking to IANS, the 25-year old said he is ready for the challenge of white-ball cricket but would first look to continue delivering for the Test side which then will help open doors for him.

“It’s up to the selectors and management. Whenever they want me, I am ready for the challenge. What is in my hands is Test cricket and if I can keep performing I can open the doors for one dayers but it’s up to them,” Vihari said.

Asked how it felt to be the top-scorer from a team which has stalwarts like Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, he said: “They have done it for the last 7-8 years so I don’t want to compare or something, but it’s a good feeling to contribute and help the team.

“I had a substantial score in both the Test matches. It feels great and I just want to keep contributing. The numbers don’t matter you want to contribute for the team and help them win.”

During the series, Vihari spent the most time in the middle with Rahane, amassing 338 partnership runs across two Tests.

“He has a lot of experience and he was sharing it. When we played for Rest of India also we had a good partnership. We gel well together and have good chemistry. We want to continue to do that,” Vihari said of his on-field camaraderie with the vice-captain.

Vihari also revealed that he had a long chat with senior member Rohit Sharma before the second Test, and the best part about this Indian dressing room is that everybody is open to sharing knowledge.

“Before the second Test, I had a long chat with Rohit and he was sharing his experiences. When we sit in the dressing room we talk about the game and I ask them what they felt at the start of their careers. They have always been open to discussions and that is the best thing about the Indian dressing room. Everyone treats everyone equally.”

VIihari made his Test debut last year in England. Speaking of the journey, the batsman said: “I have improved as a player. I am growing and improving since my debut. I am always thinking about the game and trying to get better at it. It’s a learning curve for me.

“It’s all about the clarity of the mind. I am sticking to my game plan whether I get runs or I don’t. Sticking to game plan is more important.”

Skipper Kohli had said after the series that when Vihari bats, the dressing room is calm as they know how reassuring he is. “It feels great when your captain of that stature tells something like that, gives me confidence and get better. It is the biggest motivation as a cricketer and I want to continue doing that,” Vihari said.

India will now embark on their home season, which starts at Vihari’s home ground as Visakhapatnam will host the first Test against South Africa, beginning October 2.

“Looking forward to play at home and in Vizag that’s my home groud. They have quality bowling attack and I am looking forward. There won’t be any extra pressure.”

–IANS

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