After failing to find supporters at the 2014 IPL auction, Hanuma Vihari signed up with Hutton CC in the Essex league in England. During his free time, he was in the stands for the Test of the Lord that year, steeped in the century of counterattack by Ajinkya Rahane. Four years later, at The Oval, he walked to bat after Rahane was fired.
After overcoming the initial nerves, he made a fiftieth in the Test debut and claimed three windows to start. He could not enter the XI of the home series against the West Indies that followed, but he celebrated his 25th birthday with the team. Some change, huh?
"It was a wonderful test in which Ajinkya [Rahane] got those 100. I think I went to see the second day, but after four years, actually, representing India was also wonderful, it was a great feeling." Vihari spilled on the margin of the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy between Andhra and Hyderabad at Just Cricket Academy Ground in Bengaluru.
"Sharing the costumes with them on my birthday was very special, because it was my first birthday after joining the national team and everyone greeted me well."
Vihari had started being a nervous shipwreck in his first exchanges in The Oval. He fell on his front foot and was immobilized in front of a duck by Stuart Broad. But referee Joel Wilson dropped the appeal, and England did not check either, giving Vihari a lifeline. Broad continued to aim at his pads with crazed inswingers, but a tip from Captain Virat Kohli helped him cope with the outbreak.
"I was trying to reduce the faults to reduce the deficit and obviously having Virat on the other end helped, because it gave me clues about what Broad was doing," Vihari said. "I was making adjustments with my front foot because he [Broad] was going in quite abruptly, I [opened my stance] giving more space with my front foot and those were the adjustments I made to make sure to counter the inswing.
Vihari chose the right hand seamstretch Sam Curran as the shot that made him believe he "belonged here."
"That was the moment I got confidence because if you move your feet and drive the ball, you understand," he said. " Those are one of the moments you need in international cricket to have confidence in yourself. "
Vihari was not so confident when it was not sold in the 2014 auction. Another concert with Sunrisers Hyderabad next season, but he did having only 39 races in four innings, he has not been part of the IPL since.
"He always had talent, but there was a time when he was not." I do not have the chance ", the former Vihari coach at Andhra , and India's current U-19 bowling coach, Sanath Said Kumar. "He was not receiving recognition and had not even been chosen for the IPL." All those things, and some bad experiences in Hyderabad, weighed on his mind and he began to doubt himself.
These setbacks have defined the Vihari race. He lost his father in 2005 when he was 12 years old and later was expelled from the state side sub-13. He also had not been selected for the 2012 U-19 World Cup, but was ultimately chosen as a last-minute substitute for the injured Manan Vohra.
"These setbacks have made me a better person," he said. "Once you reflect on it, you will become more humble and whatever you achieve, you will have to keep going consistently and not relax or feel complacent, but those are things that make you stronger. You are a stronger person, otherwise you fall apart, that's the choice I had, every international player has a story, this is my story. "
Added another chapter to his story by unlocking his limited power game. Cricket. It was on display against Hyderabad on Monday: it broke four sixes in its 99-ball 95, including three that came off the ground. He also occupied a central place in Andhra's standings for the semifinals in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2017-18, with 378 runs in eight innings with an average of 54 and a strike rate of 103.84. Only his teammate Andhra KS Bharat, Cheteshwar Pujara of Saurashtra and Mayank Agarwal of Karnataka did more races than him that season.
"My mentality has also changed in limited cricket, I want to be more aggressive," Vihari said. "I have a formula in the format of four days, I do not want to change much, but in the one day and the T20, I want to be more expressive, I know I have the injections, I want to be the" X Factor in the team. I do not want to contribute to the team's score, but I also want to win games. With my game, I want to create a bit of fear in the opposition when I'm there in the crease. "