HAMILTON: Hanuma Vihari on Friday said he won't mind taking over the opener's role if the team management asks after India's inexperienced opening options were technically exposed by a second-string New Zealand attack on the opening day of the warm-up game here.
Coming in at no.6, Vihari scored 100 but Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill were dismissed early, undone by the additional bounce and seam movement during the match against New Zealand XI.
The trio's performance raised doubts about its ability to face the likes of Neil Wagner, Trent Boult and Matt Henry.
"As a player, i'm prepared to bat anywhere. As of now, I've not been informed anything. As I said before also , if the team requires me to bat wherever, i'm able to bat," said Vihari, who retired after scoring 101.
The Andhra player has delivered whenever given an opportunity .
Does he feel bad about not going to play four successive Tests after the series-opener against South Africa at Visakhapatnam last year in October?
"Sometimes you've got to know the team combination also . you cannot get disheartened by it. I understood once you are playing reception , we play five bowlers. It's obvious that one batter has got to miss out. So I took it in my stride. i do not want to prove anything to anyone but just follow the method ," Vihari said.
Vihari was surprised by the additional bounce on offer on Friday but is happy to possess countered the challenge within the warm-up game which provided him with a chance to organize well.
He added 195 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara (93) after none of the opposite batsmen crossed the 20-run mark.
"Initially, i assumed the additional bounce surprised us. (In) the few matches I played against New Zealand A, the pitch didn't do the maximum amount as what it did within the morning today.
"Once we adjusted, me and Puji (Pujara's nickname), we got our eye in, then we knew we had to bat long and that is exactly what we did," Vihari said after the top of day's play.
If the Seddon Park track is any indicator, New Zealand, with a pace-heavy line-up, are going to be offering seamer friendly tracks at both Wellington and Christchurch.
"Maybe we'll get pitches like these because New Zealand's strength is their fast bowling.
They have a really experienced bowling attack but it's good that we got a while within the middle and that we experienced these conditions.
"They were tough and it's good to experience tough conditions before the series and we're proud of the way the day went," he said.
Vihari's assessment is pretty almost like what Shubman Gill told reporters on Thursday, that horizontal bat shots (hook and pull) are avoidable on these quite tracks.
"This wicket had extra bounce, quite what I've experienced in New Zealand before.
So I took a while to regulate and that i knew what shots I had to avoid early this wicket, maybe horizontal shots, i attempted to avoid that," he explained.
So what was the recommendation from his senior partner Pujara? "Pujara told me to go away more balls on this wicket, get my eye in and it'll make my job easier. I listened to him and it paid off."
For the Test series, Neil Wagner's short ball are some things that the highest order must take care of, feels Vihari.
"When the wicket flattens out, they (NZ bowlers) attempt to experiment with the short balls and that i am sure even Neil Wagner will come up with an equivalent ploy. We are prepared for it."