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Captaining Andhra in Ranji Trophy a blessing in disguise: Hanuma Vihari

Hanuma Vihari, who played for Hyderabad in the 2015/16 Ranji season, has moved to Andhra in the current season

cricket Updated: Oct 22, 2016 17:11 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Hanuma Vihari scored 626 runs for Hyderabad in the 2015/16 Ranji Trophy season
Hanuma Vihari scored 626 runs for Hyderabad in the 2015/16 Ranji Trophy season(PTI)

If leading a side is tough, leading a side one has never played for is probably tougher. And when all of this happens at the age of 23, the challenge grows manifold.

Hanuma Vihari, who led Hyderabad in the domestic circuit last season, finds himself in a similar situation. Having smashed 626 runs at an average of 48.05, the former Sunrisers Hyderabad player switched over to Andhra in the 2016/17 season and was handed the arduous task of leading the side. Being a localite, it wasn’t hard to fit in, but captaincy was indeed a challenging task. He wasn’t the only one to complete such a move though, with Dwaraka Ravi Teja joining him at his new side.

“At Hyderabad, there were huge expectations from me. At Andhra, it’s a bit less. You can call this to be a blessing in disguise but it’s a great opportunity for me to help myself grow as a cricketer. I’m really thankful to both the associations for trusting me so much,” said Vihari.

Languishing at the bottom half of Group C, Andhra have collected just two points from their opening two games. At stumps on Day Two at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, they face a challenging task of going past Jammu & Kashmir’s first innings total of 334 runs. And Vihari, unbeaten on 16 with Bhargav Bhatt (0*), is well aware that his side needs a “captain’s knock”.

Read More | Jammu-Kashmir players still await dues of fine 2014-15 Ranji season

Vihari, however, prefers a different approach out in the middle. “I don’t think about captaincy when I’m batting. That is something that I need to manage and improve on my own,” he said. “It’s only when my side takes the field that I think about these things. I need to motivate others, plan strategies and keep a tab on what everyone else is doing. The concentration required while batting is very different from that of being a captain. I relish the challenge of leading a side and it does help me to stay motivated and score more runs, but when I’m out in the middle, I don’t think about anything else.”

Vihari has had a good season so far, scoring two half-centuries in the previous two games, but he’ll have to go a notch better to help Andhra take a first innings lead in a game that seems to be headed towards a tame draw.

“We have been playing good cricket but we’ve also had a few bad sessions. We probably need the luck factor to kick in as things are not going our way despite playing good cricket. As a unit, we’re doing the right things in the batting and bowling departments but the results are simply not coming our way. It’s a long season and I’m sure it won’t be too long before our hard work pays off,” Vihari said.

Earlier, Jammu & Kashmir rode on Bandeep Singh (63) and Ram Dayal’s (42) knocks to reach 334 after starting the day at 205/6. Siva Kumar (4/49) and Bhargav Bhatt (4/122) added two wickets apiece to their overnight tally.