“I called him [Dravid] the day before I made my debut. He spoke to me for a couple of minutes and I thought it eased my nerves a little bit. He is a legend of the game”.
London : A bundle of nerves ahead of his Test debut, Hanuma Vihari said a phone call to Rahul Dravid put his mind at ease and helped him get the maiden fifty that rescued India from a difficult situation against England.
Vihari scored 56 and put on a vital 77-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja (86 not out) to help India post 292 in their first innings on Sunday. “I called him the day before I made my debut. He spoke to me for a couple of minutes and I thought it eased my nerves a little bit.
“He is a legend of the game; and his inputs especially in the batting department [helped me],” Vihari said on Sunday of the influence of the former captain, who is currently the India ‘A’ coach.
“He just told me that ‘you have the skill set; you have the mind set and the temperament, just go out there and enjoy yourself’…I would like to give him a lot of credit because my journey with India ‘A’ was very important for me to come here, his inputs made me a better player.”
Vihari said that he was nervous while facing James Anderson and Stuart Broad in his maiden innings. “Initially I felt the pressure to be honest…But once I got myself in, it eased my nerves and it was an important partnership between Jadeja and me,” he said.
“They are world-class bowlers. They have 990-odd wickets between them. Going out to bat, I just wanted to be positive in my intent. Especially when Virat is there, you just have to be there with him, rotate the strike and try to build a partnership.”
Vihari also credited skipper Virat Kohli for guiding him in his Test debut. “…having Virat at the other end made my job a little easier I guess. His inputs helped me initially. He gave me some cues so that I could play it comfortably,” he said.
“I will give a lot of credit to him for helping me out initially. But once I settled down, the wicket was very good to bat on especially with the medium pacers it got a lot slower yesterday,” he added.