Team India’s tour of New Zealand is reacing its closure wit a 2 match Test series starting from next week, and based on the dramatic T20 victory to disappointing ODI defeat, some eyebrows have raised on India’s selected Test squad. Among all the ongoing discussions about the visitors lineup to face the Kiwis from next Friday, a new name is grabbing all tghe attention. Meet Hanuma Vihari, the all rounder from Andhra Pradesh who just landed a stunning century in the pre-series warm up against New Zealand XI!
Today was the first of the 3-day Practice Match at Seddon Park cricket ground in Hamilton, and Hanuma Vihari stole the show alongside India’s red ball specialist batsman Cheteshwar Pujara. At stumps, Vihari scored an astounding 101-not out, and Pujara who just fell seven runs short from his ton after losing his wicket at 93.
Vihari’s stunning century came off including ten boundaries and three over boundaries. After Prithvi Shaw failed to open up his scorecard and Mayank Agarwal marched off to the pavilion after just a single run, Vihari’s mesmerising performance is providing a stout alternative to India’s selected openers for the upcoming Test series.
In the post match interview, Vihari said: “As a player, I am prepared to bat anywhere. As of now, I’ve not been informed anything. As I said before as well, if the team requires me to bat wherever, I am ready to bat.”
Captain of the Andhra cricket team, Vihari made his Test debut in September 2018 against England. He landed an impressive half century as a debutant in the fifth match of the series, scoring 56 runs.
He earned his first Test century against West Indies in September 2019, scoring an amazing 111 in the second Test. His last Test match for the Men in Blue was back in October 2019, where he appeared as a middle order batsman in the first match of the South Africa series.
Yet to earn his international limited overs call up, Vihari was part of the U19 Indian squad that 2012 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
Except the contributions from Vihari and Pujara, India’s 263-all out came off with the addition of an effort of 18 runs from Ajinkya Rahane. The rest of the Indian batting squad fell prey in front of a vicious Black Caps bowling attack.
Both Scott Kuggeleijn and Ish Sodhi secured three wickets each. Jake Gibson clinched a couple, and James Neesham picked a single wicket.