India vs England: The 24-year-old Andhra Pradesh captain took a massive step in cricket as he ‘earned’ his maiden Test call-up. Highly-rated and respected Hanuma Vihari could actually be Cheteshwar Pujara’s successor. The tall Vihari’s strengths have to be his water-tight defence teamed with immense patience and a whole lot of maturity.
The calm and quiet Vihari is someone who never even attended trials for getting picked by an IPL franchise in a day and age when money seems to be the only thing that matters, and the growing number of domestic T20 leagues is a big reason for that.
The above-spoken qualities and some of the factors that make Cheteswar Pujara the great player he is. And remember Pujara happens to be Rahul Dravid’s successor to the No 3 slot in Tests for India and sure there is no need to explain anything any further.
But Vihari is everything but an average cricketer!
So is, in that case, he going to be Pujara’s successor? Not now certainly as Pujara is 30 and has at least three more seasons in him, if fit, but looking forward… maybe yes!
So what gets Vihari to where he is?
Here are some of his domestic records that prove why his being in and around the team will only prepare him for the future. He has been a part of List A and first-class squads for the recently concluded tour of England. In one-day cricket, he scored 291 runs in four innings, including one ton.
In the first-class format, he managed just one half-century but in the home series against South Africa A, Vihari scored a half-century and followed it up with a brilliant 148, thus pushing his case for selection.
Prior to the start of the 2016/17 domestic season, switch his base from Hyderabad to Andhra Pradesh, the state where he was born. And that impacted straightaway, as he amassed 688 runs in 15 innings in his first season at an average of 57.33. In the next season, the right-handed batsman was the fifth-highest run-scorer in Ranji trophy, scoring 752 runs in 10 innings.
Vihari presently possesses a strong average of 59.79 in the first-class format and has scored 5142 runs in days cricket. He has scored 15 tons and 24 half-centuries in his eight years of the first-class career. He is someone who surely makes a big case towards becoming Cheteshwar Pujara’s successor.
Meanwhile, after beating England by 203 runs to stay alive in the five-match Test series 1-2. The fourth Test takes place at Southampton on August 30. It would be interesting to see if changes are made to the winning XI and how much of can they make of the well-earned confidence at Trent Bridge in eight days time.