From 2012 U-19 squad to India's Test squad - The journey of Hanuma Vihari
India's tour of England is one the most anticipated series that fans from both countries look forward to and it gets tremendous media coverage. Playing in hostile English conditions against fiery fast bowlers with the red cherry moving in the air and off the pitch at a rapid pace is a nerve-racking experience for any batsman. Tough cricket combined with all the fan frenzy turns the tour into a summer soap opera. The ongoing India's tour of England has been a mixed bag for the visitors with dramatic twists and turns like a Game of Thrones episode. After three Tests, England lead the five Tests series by 2-1. The fans and cricket aficionados are hooked and eagerly waiting for the 4th Test to begin.
The modified squads for the 4th Test have been announced by both the teams. The young batting sensation who captained India to the ICC U-19 World Cup victory earlier this year Prithvi Shaw and an extremely talented batting all-rounder Hanuma Vihari have been included in place of Murali Vijay and Kuldeep Yadav.
Let us have look at Hanuma Vihari's journey from India's U-19 squad in 2012 to the elite Test squad in 2018.
The first glimpse
The cricketing world got the first glimpse of Vihari in the ICC 2012 U-19 World Cup. Although India emerged as the champions Vihari couldn't make an impression, scoring just 71 in six matches.
Working hard away from the limelight
A young and resolute Vihari was disappointed but took it in his stride and worked immensely hard on perfecting his skill set. By no means a flamboyant batsman, Vihari worked on improving his batting technique and strike-rate to make himself suitable for all three formats of the game. Hours of grinding it out in the nets started to yield results. Soon Vihari became a vital cog in the Hyderabad team.
The IPL stint
Looking at Vihari's potential, Surisers Hyderabad picked him up in 2013. Vihari did bag a Man-of-the-Match award in just his second game but couldn't create much of an impact in the rest of the tournament. However, playing under the leadership of Kumar Sangakkara and training under Tom Moody helped his game a lot.
Vihari becomes a force to reckon with in first-class cricket
Over 5000 runs in 63 matches with 24 half-centuries, 15 centuries and 5 double centuries Vihari's average of 59.79 is among the highest in first-class cricket. A Goliath of Indian domestic cricket now, he plays for Andhra in Ranji Trophy. Vihari weaved his magic in the 2017-2018 Ranji season scoring 752 runs in just 6 matches, which included a splendid triple century as well.
A great run of form this summer
Vihari scored a half-century and a dazzling 147 in the Tri-Series played in England featuring England A and West Indies A. He also scored a gritty 68 in a first-class game against West Indies A to bail India out of a tough situation and lead the team to a victory. Vihari's sublime batting form continued as he scored a mammoth 148 against South Africa A, this time in Indian conditions and soon enough, his hard work was rewarded by a spot in the national team.