'Can do outstanding things': Hanuma Vihari on India's chances in WTC final against New Zealand
It was during the tour of England in 2018 that Hanuma Vihari made his Test debut. The batsman made his debut in the final match of the five-Test series at The Oval and began with a half-century on debut even though England went on to win the match by 118 runs. Three years later, life comes back full circle for Vihari as he gets ready to tour the UK with his teammates for one of the bigger Test matches in the history of Indian cricket.
Of course, India face England in the five-Test series starting the first week of August, but before that, Virat Kohli's team will take on New Zealand in the final of the World Test Championship starting June 18 at Southampton's Ageas Bowl. New Zealand became the first team to make the WTC final and were later joined by India, who secured their ticket with a win in the fourth Test against England recently at home.
The last time India and New Zealand faced each other in an ICC event, it was the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup, which the BlackCaps won by 18 runs over a rain-affected two-day affair. For Vihari, who only plays Test matches for India, this is a lifetime opportunity to become part of history as India would look to avenge their World Cup SF loss in Manchester from two years ago.
Vihari last played for India during the Sydney Test in January, where he batted with an injured hamstring to save the Test match for India. England will be a tough tour, but Vihari sounded confident of India's chances.
"I am trying to prepare in the best way possible for the WTC Final and the England series. It's going to be interesting and exciting as well for all the Indian fans because it's the first edition of the WTC. We are in the finals and we are playing New Zealand which is going to be challenging in this condition," Vihari told India Today.
Vihari marks his return to the Test squad having missed the home series against England due injury. Since recovering, Vihari hasn't been able to put up the kind of scores he'd have liked. He played seven matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Andhra where a knock of 65 was his only double-digit score. Later, he played three County games for Warwickshire, managing scores of 0, 8, 32, 52, 8 and 0. Ahead of a crunch tour, Vihari is eager to put his best foot forward and has backed the team to put up a commendable show.
"We all know that but the Indian team can do outstanding things. I am sure that we'll be confident going into the WTC final. I am trying to prepare as best as I can for the WTC and the Test series after that," Vihari added.