All you need to know about India's latest Test recruit Hanuma Vihari
India have announced their squad for the fourth and fifth Test matches for the on-going Test series in England. There was a surprise yet deserving inclusion of 24-year-old middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari who plays for Andhra Pradesh in the domestic circuit. This is Vihari’s maiden call-up to the national side and it has come on the back of some excellent performances.
Along with Prithvi Shaw who also earned a maiden call-up, Vihari will fly to England for the remainder of the 5-match Test series. While his inclusion is not a huge surprise, he is a rather unknown commodity in Indian cricket.
Thus, here is everything you need to know about the 24-year old Andhra batsman.
#1 Hanuma Vihari was born on October 13th 1993 in a city named Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. Vihari is the first player from Andhra to be picked in the Indian squad in the last 19 years. Incidentally, the last player from Andhra to play for India is the current chief selector MSK Prasad.
#2 Vihari made his first-class debut in a Ranji Trophy game in 2010 at the age of 17, playing for Hyderabad.
#3 He was a part of India’s Under-19 World Cup winning squad which was led by Unmukt Chand. However, he didn’t have the best of tournaments as he could muster only 71 runs in 6 innings at a poor average of 11.83.
#4 Vihari then made his IPL debut in 2013, representing Sunrisers Hyderabad. He has played only two IPL seasons and both of them were with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). After playing 17 games in his debut season in 2013, he was dropped (he had scored just 241 runs at 17.21 and his strike-rate wasn’t impressive either) before he was brought back by SRH in 2015. However, since 2015, he has not played a single IPL game thus far.
#5 During the sixth edition of the IPL (Vihari’s debut season), Kumar Sangakkara told the then 19-year old middle-order batsman, “You (Vihari) are the best young player I have seen in many years.”
#6 Vihari has scored 280 runs in 22 IPL games he played across two seasons (2013 and 2015). However, he can be proud of one record. He has just one wicket in his entire IPL career and that is the wicket of Chris Gayle.
#7 Vihari was made the captain of Hyderabad for the 2015/16 season. He led from the front as he made 626 runs at an average of 48.26 in that season before he took a big step.
#8 Ahead of the 2016/17 season, the right-handed batsman shifted his base from Hyderabad to Andhra Pradesh and has reaped rewards. In his first year with Andhra, he scored 688 runs at an average of 57.33 before bettering his tally in the next season. In the last season (2017/18), he made 752 runs at a staggering average of 94.00. According to Vihari, this move to Andhra has been a massive one in terms of his career.
#9 Despite being in some stupendous form, Vihari was overlooked in the IPL auction this year and hence, he went unsold.
#10 Vihari has been scoring consistently in domestic cricket. Not only in the Indian domestic set-up but he has also done really well on the ‘A’ tours and ‘A’ games at home as well. In fact, he scored heavily in the recent India ‘A’ games as well. He did excellently in England and continued the form against South Africa ‘A’ later at home.
In fact, in his last 11 innings for India ‘A’ (this year), he has amassed 612 runs at an average of 55.63 which includes 3 fifties and 2 big hundreds. He has been dismissed in single-digits only twice in these 11 innings.
#11 Hanuma Vihari is in a very elite list. He is placed 9th on the list of players with highest first-class average. He has a first-class average of 59.45 which is better than that of Steve Smith and Virat Kohli.
In fact, among current players who are playing first-class cricket, Vihari’s average of 59.45 is the best. Overall, he has scored 5142 runs in 63 first-class games. He has struck 15 hundreds and 24 fifties so far.
#12 The Andhra batsman has also played some cricket in England, apart from this India ‘A’ tour earlier in June. He played two full seasons for Hutton CC in the Shepherd Neame Essex First Division League and scored six hundreds in his stint.
Despite scoring heavily in the last few years, Hanuma Vihari is still an unknown commodity in Indian cricket. His ability with the bat has never been noticed and despite scoring consistently, the spotlight has never fallen on him. However, he has got his due reward and will now join Virat Kohli and co for the last two Tests of the 5-match Test series.