Important to keep developing my offspin, I fit in the team because of that combination: Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari scored 93 in the second innings. @BCCI

India’s middle-order batsman and part-time offspinner, Hanuma Vihari, has said that it is important for him to develop his bowling. The 25-year-old was preferred in the playing XI over Rohit Sharma as India did not play a frontline spinner. In case the team needed anyone to partner all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, Vihari would have bowled his offspin.

“It is important that my off-spin keeps developing, not only for myself but for the team as I fit into the team just because of that combination. I’m trying to keep on improving and getting better at it. So, hopefully, I will get more overs and help the team in future,” he said after the conclusion of the first Test match where India thumped the West Indies by 318 runs.

Vihari showed the first glimpse of his bowling on his debut against England, where he claimed three wickets in 9.3 overs. He dismissed Alastair Cook (147) and Joe Root (125) on consecutive deliveries and also sent back Sam Curran (21). He wasn’t the first preference in the home series against West Indies and on the tour of Australia but pipped Rohit in West Indies.

Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane
Hanuma Vihari and Ajinkya Rahane put up for the fifth wicket. @BCCI

The Andhra Pradesh-born also complemented Ajinkya Rahane for helping him out on the fourth day of the Test, where the duo put up 135 runs for the fifth wicket after India lost the wicket of Virat Kohli off Roston Chase.

“Rahane was helping me out with the way bowlers were bowling because he batted for a long time in the first innings as well. He was helping me out with what the wicket was playing like.

“I came here early with India A team so I had that experience of these conditions and that came handy for me. I know how the wicket would play and I was fortunate enough to get those runs for the team,” Vihari added, who missed out on scoring his maiden Test ton by seven runs.

Also Read: 1st Test: Bumrah eager to ‘keep on learning his craft’, Holder wants West Indies to ‘stop making excuses’

India declared their innings on a score of 343/7, asking the hosts to chase down 419. Jasprit Bumrah spearheaded the pace attack and toppled the West Indies with a spell of 8-4-7-5. None of the top five batsmen could reach the double-digit mark that saw the home side being bowled out for 100, losing the opening game by 318 runs.

The second and final Test of the series will be played at Sabina Park, Jamaica starting on August 30.