'Vihari’s dad would have been so proud to see him play his first home test'
Even as Hanuma Vihari gears up to face Rabada and co., in the test series against South Africa, starting in Vizag today, the mood at his home here in Hyderabad is bittersweet. “His father would have been so proud of him today! To watch your son play in front of the home crowd is a dream come true for any parent. I cannot express in words what this means to me,” shares an emotional Vijayalakshmi, Vihari’s mother.
Hanuma Vihari was just 12 when he lost his father, Satyanarayana. “It was his father who dreamt of watching him play for India someday; it was he who inspired Vihari to pick up the bat first. Sadly, he didn’t live to see this day. This is the first time Vihari is playing a test match in India, in front of the home crowd. It’s a very special moment for us,” says Vijayalakshmi.
When Vihari goes out to bat at the Dr YSR ACA VDCA Cricket Stadium in Vizag, all eyes will be on the 25-year-old who has been representing Andhra in Ranji Trophy since 2017. The fact that he amassed 289 runs to become India’s highest run-getter in the two-match test series against West Indies, has raised the expectations of the home crowd. And his mother is very optimistic that he will deliver. “He has played matches in Vizag before, but since this is a test match, it’s naturally more special. I don’t get involved in his cricket much, but I know that he’s been working really hard on his game as well as his fitness. I am hopeful that his relentless hard work also produce the desired result on the cricket pitch,” says Vijayalakshmi.
The family is not letting the hype around his home game make them too nervous though. “We need to keep in mind that this is just another game and not attach too much importance to it. Just like how Vihari approaches his game, we too will look at this test match the same way — like just another day at the office.” She is however, disappointed that she won’t be in Vizag to watch him play. “Unfortunately, we won’t be accompanying him for the game. But of course, I’ll be glued to the television,” says Vijayalakshmi.