Hanuma Vihari reveals Rahul Dravid's message after Sydney heroics Photograph:( AFP )
After India's historic achievement of winning back-to-back Test series on Australian soil, Hanuma Vihari has credited former Indian captain Rahul Dravid for bridging the gap between domestic and international players.
Indian batsman Hanuma Vihari defied all odds to stitch an unbeaten knock with Ravichandran Ashwin to help Team India draw the third Test against Australia at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground. Hanuma, battling a hamstring injury, first got it going along with Cheteshwar Pujara, before batting for more than three hours with Ashwin, who himself was struggling with a sore back.
After India's historic achievement of winning back-to-back Test series on Australian soil, Vihari has credited former Indian captain Rahul Dravid for bridging the gap between domestic and international players.
After Vihari's heroics on Day 5 of the Sydney Test, Dravid messaged the Indian batsman to laud him for his efforts.
"Even after the Sydney Test, it was nice of him to send me a text. He said ‘Very well done, you did a great job’. That is the person he is and I respect him for that," Vihari told Sports Today.
Vihari further praised Dravid for giving chances to youngsters during India A tours as he said it made the players ready for international cricket.
"I mean, after getting picked in the India A side. Those who were there in the side, Siraj, Saini, Shubman, Mayank, everyone who were part of that side played a lot of cricket together in India A. Also, in the last 3-4 years, we played many India A tours and he was the coach (Rahul Dravid). I don’t think we played so many India A tours before. So that bridged the gap between the Ranji Trophy and the Indian team. We made the progress quickly. That’s the reason why we are playing our first game or the second game, we are ready for the challenge. We are not behind any other players. He made it possible.
"As youngsters, we have to give a lot of credit to him, the way he let us express our game. When we play under him, it always feels like he is more of a mentor than a coach. He is always there whenever we need him.
"Even in the last Australia tour, I made a call to him, saying ‘Sir, I am making my debut’. He said ‘you have done exceptionally well in Ranji Trophy, in India A, so you’re ready to play’. That’s the confidence he gave me," Vihari said.
Vihari is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for his rehabilitation and will miss the home series against England starting from February 5 due to the hamstring tear. He is expected to be back in contention before India's tour of England later in the year.