Hanuma Vihari has admitted although he cannot be compared with Virat Kohli that it is a great feeling to know that his first-class average is seven more than the Indian skipper. After a successful tour of West Indies, Vihari is eagerly preparing for his debut home season in international cricket.
He returned from the Caribbean as India’s top run-scorer and a host of pundits and fans showering praise on an impressive showing. For now, at least, Vihari’s average (60.30) is better than his skipper, who has a first-class average of 53.55. Quite obviously, these are only early days in his career and Vihari admitted that youngsters like him look to up Kohli as someone to follow.
“Obviously I can't compare myself with him at this point in my career, but to know that I'm averaging around 60 is a great feeling. It is something I've always tried to do, you know - play for long and have that appetite for runs,” Vihari told ESPNCricinfo.
“He (Kohli) sets an example - on the field and off the field, with the work ethic he has. He is an inspiration in the dressing room, especially for youngsters. We look at him like an idol and someone who we can follow,” Vihari continued.
Perhaps the best word of praise for the youngster’s individual showing – 289 runs from two Tests at an average of 96.33 – came from Kohli himself. During one of the post-match presentations, Kohli said that the dressing room feels calm when Vihari is out in the middle.
“I have always had that (calmness). I wanted to score as many runs as possible, even in domestic cricket. So I had to be calm and not show too many emotions or be flamboyant. I'm not that kind of person or player. I know my strengths and I wait [to be able to play to them]. That carried into international cricket, in the last couple of matches especially. If you saw, I was waiting for shots in my area. Maybe that's why he said that. That's a great compliment for me, especially at the start of my career,” Vihari said.
But now, all that is in the past and the 25-year-old is about to play his first international season in home conditions. With Rohit Sharma being nominated to open the innings in Tests as well, Vihari is almost certain to feature in the three-match series against South Africa, starting from October 2. Although he will bat at No.6 in batsmen-friendly conditions, Vihari is looking forward to a stiff challenge against the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, and Vernon Philander.
“As I said, no runs in Test cricket are easy. Every team, especially now with the Test Championship, will come hard for a win. Especially when they're playing away. They want an away win. It'll boost their chances for the championship. I don't want to take it easy and be complacent,” Vihari added.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi