India batsman Hanuma Vihari is excited to play his first Test at home with series against South Africa beginning in Visakhapatnam on October 2. Having proved himself in overseas conditions, Vihari, who made his debut in England in September last year, has played six Tests so far.

The 26-year-old averages 45.60 and scored his first century in the previous away series against the West Indies. “For the first time, I will be playing international cricket in India for India. It is very exciting,” Vihari was quoted as saying by PTI. “That too in Vizag, my home association. I am looking forward to it.”

The middle-order batsman was speaking on the sidelines of a felicitation function organised for him on by his alma mater St John’s Sports Coaching Foundation. Vihari said he has been preparing for the South Africa series at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. “I have spent the last 15 days at National Cricket Academy. I have been preparing well for the South Africa series,” he said. India will play three Tests against the Proteas.

Asked if he would confine himself to Tests, Vihari said it is not in his hands and that he is ready to play in all formats given a chance. Team India fielding coach R Sridhar was also felicitated on the occasion.

Veteran cricketer VVS Laxman, who is also an alumnus of St John’s Sports Coaching Foundation, was present too. Speaking at the event, Vihari said he was happy that Sridhar, who had trained him since his younger days, was present in the dressing room when he scored his maiden hundred.

“Obviously, it was very fitting that Sridhar sir was there in the dressing room when I got my first hundred. I can only imagine how emotional he was and it was a special day. Obviously, he was there throughout, from the start of my career to till now, he was always there. As I said, it is very fitting that he was there in the dressing room, Vihari said.

Laxman appreciated Vihari for the determination shown as a young cricketer and Sridhar for his stellar contribution to the Indian team.