Hanuma Vihari batting
Hanuma Vihari (Getty Images)

Hanuma Vihari has been knocking on the doors of Indian cricket team for a while now. Wednesday ended his wait when the door was thrown open for the Andhra batsman who averages an unreal 59.79 in first-class cricket.

Along with Mumbai 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw, Vihari received a maiden India call-up for the remaining two Tests against England.

It’s been eight years since a 17-year-old Vihari made his maiden first-class appearance for Hyderabad and two years back shifted to Hyderabad. So far, the 24-year-old has racked up 5142 runs in 63 FC matches with 15 centuries and 24 half-centuries.

In the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season, he struck 752 runs at an average of 94 which included a maiden triple-century – 302 not out against Odisha.

“I was over the moon, to be honest,” Vihari was quoted as saying by Cricketnext on Thursday. “It is a great moment for me and my career. I got a call from the India A manager that I have to leave tomorrow. It is a surreal moment for me and my family as well. One that I will cherish forever.”

Earlier this year, he made both the India A squad for the limited-overs and four-day fixtures in England. In the one-day tri-series, involving England Lions and West Indies A, he scored 253 runs with a highest score of 147. In two FC matches, against West Indies A, he struck 119 runs including a half-century. More recently, in the two unofficial Tests against South Africa A at home, he his scores were 54 and 148 in two innings.

Vihari says experience has contributed to confidence and consistency that has made the selectors sit up and take notice. “I have always had the hunger of scoring big runs but once you have that maturity and experience and exposure then you tend to have more confidence within yourself and that is what has helped me,” he said.

Prior to touring with the India A squads for the tri-series in July, Vihari has played in England before – for Hutton CC in the Shepherd Neame Essex First Division League.

He reckons that if given a chance, that experience will come handy and he’s going their with an open mind to express himself. “I have played before in England, but the experience of international cricket is going to be very important and hopefully I can express myself there. So, I just want to go there with an open mind and see what I can learn from the tour,” he said.

Even if he doesn’t get to play a Test, Vihari knows that the opportunity to rub shoulders with the Indian players will help in improving his mindset and possibly make him a better cricketer. “It is more about the game, more about the mindset of how you go about playing Test cricket at the higher level. So, I would love to see how they (India cricketers) prepare for the matches and what their routines are and see how it helps in my game. And I am sure it will help me become a better player once I get there and take in that experience,” he said.