Hanuma Vihari has become the first player from Andhra Pradesh to play Test cricket for India in 18 years. Vihari was picked in the squad for the fourth and fifth Tests in England but was handed his debut after being included in the playing eleven for the final test in the series, being played at the Oval.
MSK Prasad was the last cricketer from Andhra to play for India and he played his final Test match in January 2000. MSK Prasad played as a wicketkeeper and is the current selection committee chief.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India also congratulated the cricketer for wearing the India cap.
â€” BCCI (@BCCI) September 7, 2018
The 24-year-old from Kakinada makes his debut with an astounding first-class batting average of 59.45 which is the highest among current first-class players. Former Australian captain Steve Smith comes in second with an average of 57.27.
Hanuma first came on to the first-class scene when he made his debut at the age of 17 against Jharkhand at Ranchi back in November 2010. He has since played in 63 first-class games and scored 5,142 runs. Vihari can also lend a helping hand with the ball and has taken 19 first-class wickets.
He shot to fame when he amassed an incredible run tally during the 2017/18 Ranji Trophy with a total of 752 runs in just six matches. This also included a memorable 302 not out against Odisha. Hanuma ended the season with a Bradmanesque average of 94.
His domestic form earned him the distinction of being one of just four players to be called up for the India A squad that was touring England this year, for the 50-over as well as four-day formats. He finished as the third-highest scorer in the limited over tri-series with 253 runs which included a best of 147 against West Indies A. In Vihariâ€™s last first-class match back in August against South Africa A at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, he scored a match-winning 148. He has scored two fifties and a century in his last five first-class innings.
Till now, he hasnâ€™t had great success at the Indian Premier League (IPL) having been picked by the Sunrisers Hyderabad from 2013, but only played in the team for the 2015 season. His highlight during the tournament came surprisingly with that ball as he opened the bowling in a game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and picked up the prized wicket of Chris Gayle when he had scored just 1 run.
Hanuma has been able to capitalise on almost every opportunity given to him thus far and will be looking to do the same at the highest level when he takes the field for the fifth test in the series between India and England. England have already amassed an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series, but both teams will be looking to win the final test for different reasons. India will be playing for pride as well as ranking points while England will be looking to give Alastair Cook, who is playing his last test match, a memorable farewell.