India captain Virat Kohli singled out Hanuma Vihari for special praise for his work ethic and temperament, saying the young middle-order batsman’s self belief while batting spreads a sense of calm in the dressing room.
Vihari was undoubtedly India’s find of the West Indies Test series as he emerged as the top run-getter with 289 runs that included a century and two half-centuries.
“Hanuma was the stand-out batsman in this game. According to the surface, it was a top-class innings from him. He is someone who is sure of his game and it shows. The dressing room feels calm when he’s batting. That’s a quality he possesses naturally,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony after India demolished West Indies by 257 runs to sweep the Test series 2-0.
Vihari’s willingness to learn from mistakes is also a quality that will take him places, feels the world’s best batsman.
“He (Hanuma) is willing to improve. He accepts and corrects his mistakes and plays with a lot of heart. Always up to do anything for the team. It’s a very young career so far but he’s shown why he’s been backed and selected in this team,” Kohli said.
The skipper was happy in the manner India had achieved the victory in the second Test.
“It was pretty comprehensive again. Played really good cricket over four days. Getting result in manner that you want is crucial. We were in some tricky situations. Took a lot of character from the boys collectively,” Kohli said.
Kohli, who won a record 28th Test as captain, attributed the success to the bowling unit, which has played its role in one victory after another.
“It’s a by-product of the quality team we have here (becoming the most successful Indian captain). If we didn’t have the bowlers we have, these results wouldn’t have been possible.
“If you see these guys running in - Shami’s spell today, Bumrah after having a small niggle, Ishant bowling his heart out, Jadeja bowling a long spell. Captaincy is just a C in front of your name. It’s the collective effort that matters,” the skipper said.
“For us, it’s just the start of the (World Test) Championship. Whatever’s happened in the past is irrelevant,” he said.
While West Indies batting was shoddy, Kohli rated their pace attack as top-class.
“West Indies would know the areas they need to improve on. From bowling point of view, they were outstanding. Jason (Holder) and Kemar (Roach) were the standout bowlers. Their bowling attack with the red ball here is as lethal as anyone. If they get enough runs on the board, they’ll be a very dangerous opposition in Test cricket,” the skipper concluded.
Vihari has played all his Test matches outside India and is now eagerly looking forward to the series against South Africa next month, his first on home soil.
Vihari, who emerged as India’s top run-getter against the West Indies was satisfied that his patience on tricky surfaces has paid off.
“I have not played a Test at home, looking forward to it. It’s great to play in front of the home crowd back in India,” said Vihari, who is expected to feature in the first Test against the Proteas on his home ground in Visakhapatnam.
The 25-year-old Andhra batsman got the man-of-the-match award for his century and half-century in India’s 257-run win in the second Test. In fact, he was itching to get one after missing out by seven runs in the first game.
“It feels great to score my maiden Test century. I missed out on a hundred in the last match, so I was focusing on a big score this time. We were 200 for 5 and that was my goal while batting with Rishabh (Pant),” Vihari said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“We had to be patient on this wicket as there was something in it for the fast bowlers. I was trying to take calculative risk against spinners, that was the game plan and it worked well for me.”
Opposition skipper Jason Holder however was clueless as to how he would be able to fix the problem related to batting.
“Obviously disappointed, we didn’t play a complete game of cricket in both the games. We need to put up the scores and fight out those tough periods, it’s a tough question on how to fix the batting. It’s an individual thing, we need to take ownership of our performances.”
He however praised the bowlers for the effort that they put in.
“The bowlers gave their 100% as we’ve been on the field every single day of this Test series, and the bowlers have delivered. It’s been a heavy workload on the bowlers, and at no point have they dropped their heads.”
Holder gave credit to Indian batsmen for making them work hard for those wickets.
“They knew our bowling was good - they made us work hard for those wickets. They are a quality side and they played quality cricket, we didn’t bat well enough. That’s the quality of their side. As a batsman, you need to get in, only then it gets easier. You had to work hard for your runs.”