Ever since he made an impressive Test debut against England at The Oval last year, Hanuma Vihari has been a consistent performer in the long format. He scored a half-century on debut and pulled his side out of trouble in difficult conditions in the dead rubber as the hosts had already pocketed the series. Vihari also took three wickets in the second innings of that Test match and dismissed Alastair Cook, the England opener who was playing in his final innings and was on 147.
The Hyderabad batsman has since won the team management’s confidence well. He was even sent to open the innings in Australia last year and although he didn’t score big, his eight off 66 did a favor to the middle-order by playing out the new ball. But more importantly, Vihari’s gesture sent across the positive message that he is ready to do it all for his team.
Vihari came to the rescue of his team once again in the first Test against the West Indies in Antigua recently. In both the innings, he put up useful partnerships with Ajinkya Rahane to take India to safe shores. He scored 32 in the first to add 82 runs with Rahane (81) and then 93 to add 135 runs with Rahane (102) in the second essay.
He had a great opportunity to register his maiden Test hundred but perished while trying to accelerate the team’s scoring, hence adding to his reputation as a team man. A little short of completing his first year in international cricket, the 25-year-old Vihari has become a key member of India’s Test set-up.
Vihari benefited at the expense of Manan Vohra
Vihari made his first-class debut in 2010 as a teenager and in 2012, his journey started with the Indian U19 team. However, destiny had its role to play in Vihari getting a call in the U19 side as Punjab opening batsman Manan Vohra founding himself ruled out with a thumb injury.
Missing out on a ton was disappointing, but Vihari is not ready to get bogged down. “Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but I am happy that I could contribute to the team’s success. Maybe, one day will come when I cross that three-figure mark,” Hindustan Times quoted the batsman as saying after his knock that played a big role in India’s 318-run win.
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