Hanuma Vihari, whose heroics in Sydney during India’s tour of Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy saved India’s blushes, surprisingly didn’t feature in India’s squad for the Test series against New Zealand.
Even more surprisingly, he wasn’t even picked for India A tour of South Africa, the squad for which was picked a few days before. As an afterthought, he made it to India A squad for the tour of the Rainbow nation as a late inclusion, but an explanation over his absence from the 2 Tests against the Kiwis at home was still missing.
Hanuma Vihari Was Not Picked Against Kiwis As Selectors Preferred A Player With More Aggressive Intent
What left cricket fans baffled even more, was the fact that the selectors preferred handing the uncapped Shreyas Iyer a call-up over including Hanuma Vihari in the team. For some players to get selected, a few others are bound to be snubbed. As the 2-match Test series between India and New Zealand kicks off in Kanpur on November 25, the preference of Shreyas Iyer over Hanuma Vihari has left many fans and experts of the cricket fraternity baffled.
As per a report, Shreyas Iyer was included in the team as the selectors wanted a more aggressive player in the team who can lodge counter-attacks, especially considering players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Rishabh Pant are absent from the squad. Hanuma Vihari has scored 624 runs in 12 Tests averaging 32.84. He battled a hamstring injury to hit a match-saving 23 runs from 161 balls against Australia in the Sydney 3rd Test.
When it comes to Hanuma Vihari, the tempo of his game is similar to players like Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Wriddhiman Saha. With Shreyas Iyer, the team has an attacking option in the middle that they lack with Hanuma Vihari. Interestingly, Hanuma Vihari hasn’t played a single Test match at home since making his debut in the longest format in 2018.
Hanuma Vihari Could Be In Team For South Africa Test Series, But He Has To Do Well For India A, And Hope Neither Shreyas Iyer Nor Suryakumar Yadav Impress Vs Kiwis
Hanuma Vihari, however, has a better chance of featuring in the forthcoming Test series against South Africa that begins in December. The likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Rishabh Pant all expected to return for the tour of the Rainbow nation, the middle-order batsman could fit in the squad better. But, his inclusion would also depend upon the performances he produces for India A.
The likes of Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav would also be in contention for the tour of South Africa, particularly if they manage to impress in the 2-match Test series against the Kiwis, which means the chances of Hanuma Vihari’s return would be reduced further.
Hanuma Vihari had battled a hamstring injury to hit a match-saving 23 runs from 161 balls against Australia. However, he missed out on the 4th and final Test at Gabba that India went on to win and script history. Since then, he hasn’t played for India in Tests again. He was part of the Test squad for the England series but did not get a game.