In what was a once-in-a-lifetime series, Hanuma Vihari has expressed that it felt highly satisfying drawing the Sydney Test after the years of grind on the first-class scene. He also stated that at no point in the series did the team management and the physios panic in Australia.
India had to battle out multiple things in Australia after their lowest ever total in Test history - 36 in the second innings of the Adelaide Test. However, since then, injuries haunted them, as was the absence of their skipper Virat Kohli. While Rahane led the side effortlessly, the management had to make a lot of crucial decisions going forward in the series. Thus came the selection of Ravindra Jadeja, which turned out to be a game-changer, as India came away with a win in Melbourne.
They backed that victory with one of the most defining save of the decade, where the injured duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari led the team to a miraculous draw. Post the series, Vihari looking back at the Sydney Test, stated that it felt highly satisfying to save the game after the long and strenuous first-class grind.
“I would say for all the years of hard work I had done in first-class cricket, where there are no people watching you play and you have to go through the grind and struggle, and to have 1.3 billion watching back home and all the people in the world watching you save a Test match... That was the thought that came into my mind. Real satisfaction of going through the grind in the first-class arena and then achieving this, the satisfaction was really amazing,” Vihari told ESPNCricinfo in an exclusive.
Even with the most number of injuries suffered by a side in this decade, India came away with a statement series win, blowing the Australian force at their own den. But it wasn’t just the team’s efforts, Vihari thanked the support from the staff and everyone who managed them brilliantly without a bout of panic.
“This series has been a ride of emotions. We have been through the ups and downs, we have seen everything you can see in sports in one series. The way the support staff handled it... at no point were they panicked. At no point did they lose hope. They believed that whoever walked onto the park, we are "Team India" and we will get 100% on the ground,” he added.
Alongside that, he also extended his thanks to the physios and the trainers, who were endlessly involved in the action. At one point, India had to extend their squad to give debuts to Natarajan and Washington Sundar after the injuries tally extended beyond control.
“Huge credit to the physios and the trainers. They had a tough time dealing with so many injuries. At no point did I feel they were panicked or worried or anything like that. They were quite calm. Both the physios and both the trainers. At one point we joked that it felt like we were in a war with wounded soldiers,” he thanked.
Vihari also pointed out how tough it was to face the Australian bowlers, who were athletic and quite tall, with their release points. However, he insisted that the only way to score runs off them was to wear them down, which India did following the first Test.
"It is challenging but we showed in this Test series if you take up the challenge, then you can wear any bowler down. That's exactly what we did. We wore them down and we capitalised on any loose balls we got. That is very rare from them. Only when they are tired or once you have batted 70-80 overs, then you tend to get some runs out of them." he concluded.