Hanuma Vihari became the 292nd Test player to represent India after he was handed his maiden cap in the fifth and final Test against England at The Oval on Friday. Vihari has been brought in to the playing XI in place of All-Rounder Hardik Pandya. The 24-year-old becomes the first Andhra cricketer in almost 18 years to represent India in the longest format of the game.
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Vihari, alongside Prithvi Shaw, were summoned into the squad for the fourth and fifth Tests in place of Murali Vijay and Kuldeep Yadav.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on its official Twitter handle shared the images of Vihari receiving the cap from Kohli with the caption: “Proud moment for Hanuma Vihari as he becomes the 292nd player to represent #TeamIndia in Tests.”
Meanwhile, Karun Nair, who was part of the original squad named for the series, hasn’t played in any of the Tests in the ongoing five-match series and that has left many unhappy.
After the toss, while speaking on Sony Six, former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar seemed furious with the team’s decision to once again keep Nair – who in 2016 became only the second Test triple-centurion for India – out of the XI.
“Karun Nair has every right to ask the team management why he is not in the team,” said Gavaskar. “He deserves an answer. You didn’t pick an extra specialist batsman earlier, but now that you have, Karun Nair deserves an answer. He is not your favourite player. The selectors seem to have brought him. I don’t think the team management likes him.”
This is how Twitter reacted to Nair’s exclusion from the playing XI:
“India’s selectors have just made a damning statement of what they think of Karun Nair as a player. Very very hard on him. Would love to know what he was told when the team was announced,” wrote famous cricket commentator and presenter Harsha Bhogle.
Nair played the last of his six Test matches against Australia at Dharamsala in March 2017. The 26-year-old was recalled as a batting replacement option for the Afghanistan Test in June but was not included in the playing XI. As captain India A in England, Nair registered first-class scores of 20, 93, 42, 55 and 2. In the tour match before the start of the Test series, he made 4 against a depleted Essex.
England are 3-1 in the ongoing series and would like to win the last Test and give a perfect send-off to Alastair Cook.