Hanuma Vihari: 'When the No. 6 batsman is left out, I am not too disheartened"
- In an exclusive interview, Hanuma Vihari discusses his fitness routines, his place in the Indian team and his mindset.
- Vihari featured for India in the Test series against New Zealand last month.
Hanuma Vihari, one of India's test specialists, was all set to play county cricket in England before the coronavirus pandemic halted his plans. The pandemic and the lockdown has had a massive effect on cricket with this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) likely to be postponed or cancelled. With no cricket in sight, the cricketers have been taking other measures to maintain their fitness.
Hanuma Vihari has been exercising at home in order to keep himself fit. Naturally, the break also provided the players with an opportunity to have some cheat days. The 26-year-old took a couple of cheat days after which he moved to his original diet. Prior to the pandemic, Hanuma was in New Zealand where he led India A against New Zealand A and represented India in two test matches.
On March 17, the all-rounder scored a double hundred for Nelson Cricket Club against Alwarpet in a first-division club match of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. He played for the club because he wanted to keep himself fit and active.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, Vihari discusses his fitness routines, his prowess for India, his mindset and his growth as an international cricketer. He also urged the citizens to abide by the lockdown and stay safe.
Q. How are you working on your fitness and have you had a cheat day amidst this break?
Only the first couple of days I was eating more after that I stuck to the diet I follow and obviously fitness wise I have a lot more time so I am working more on it and obviously I will try to focus more on it. I am spending a little bit time on fitness because I have come from playing a lot of cricket since the past 6 or 8 months. I have been playing continuously so I took some time off and started doing basic exercise and I will plan and prepare myself before the matches.
Q. You were left out of the XI after your maiden test hundred, what was the message from the team management?
I played one game in Vizag and I was left out after that but I do understand the team combination. I play at number six and when the team has to play an extra bowler, usually the number six batsman is left out, and I am happy. I’m not too disheartened by it because that’s what the team wants, that’s the team combination and you play for the team.
Q. Being a test specialist and not having an IPL contract, does that bother you at times?
For me, whatever is in my hands, that is the only thing I can control. Now, test cricket is in my hands, and if one day IPL comes, I am more than happy to play but if doesn’t come, I am not overly bothered by it because it's not in my control so there’s not much point thinking about it. Obviously I want to play all the formats but I’m not too desperate.
Q. In the past, you have said that you are ready to bat at any position, which is the batting position which you prefer the most?
I have always batted in the top order, whether it is opening or number three. I have batted more at number three but as I said I don’t really mind batting anywhere. Hopefully in the future if I get that position, I will try to maximise.
Q. You opened the batting in Australia against the likes of Hazlewood, Starc and Cummins, how was the experience?
Initially, I didn't think about that. My only thought was how to do the job for the team. I was really excited and I was disappointed in a way that I couldn’t carry on and get a big score but that was a good experience opening in the boxing day test.
Q. Who is the best captain you've played under?
I would say Virat. I haven't played under MS Dhoni. I see how much passion he (Virat Kohli) has got. Especially when we are playing overseas. He has changed a lot for Indian cricket in the last 5 years as a captain. Now when we go overseas, we feel that we have a chance to win. He made a major difference with the attitude and the passion with which he plays.
Q. What motivated you to play county cricket?
When you play as a professional you learn a lot, not only scoring runs, handling that kind of pressure, you won't get a homely feeling when you play as a professional. You’ll need time to get acclimatized to the conditions and get used to the players. That kind of a challenge is very good for a player and I want to have that experience of playing and performing as a professional and hopefully I get a chance to play county cricket and perform.
Q. You were a part of the Delhi Capitals in the previous IPL, what was the most important learning which you took from Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly?
One thing I learned from them was their hunger and passion to win because they have been good captains and they led their teams with a lot of passion and I learned this from them.
Q. You were a part of India U19 side in 2012, how much do you think has changed since then?
I think my game has gone step-by-step to the next level because I have worked hard on it. I had a very bad U19 tournament and I wanted to improve my game and make sure that I perform consistently after that. Deep down I knew that I had to perform consistently for 5-6 years to get a call-up.Published 06 Apr 2020, 17:42 IST