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 entering the national side and everyone greeted me well."
Vihari began as a nervous shipwreck in his first exchanges at The Oval. He fell on his front foot and was immobilized in the front. for a Stuart Broad duck. But referee Joel Wilson dropped the appeal, and England did not check, and gave Vihari a life preserver. Broad continued to point to his pads with booming inswinges, but a tip from Captain Virat Kohli helped him resist "it broke.
" I was looking to get the races to reduce the deficit and obviously having Virat on the other end helped because I gave clues to what Broad was doing, "said Vihari. I was making adjustments with my front foot because he [Broad] was going in pretty abruptly. I [opened my stance] gave him more space with the front foot and those were the adjustments I made to make sure to counteract the inswing.
Vihari chose his direct handling of the left-arm seamstress Sam Curran as the shot that made him believe that "I belonged here."
"That was the moment in which I got confidence because if you move your feet and drive the ball, you get your eye," 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 at the 2014 auction. He got another concert with Sunrisers Hyderabad next season, but he did it with only 39 runs in four innings. It has not been part of the IPL since.
"He always had talent, but there was a time when he did not have the chance," Vihari's former coach at Andhra and the current U-19 bowling coach from India, Sanath Kumar said. "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 fold. "