Andhra Pradesh's prolific batsman Hanuma Vihari became the 292nd player to make Test debut for India on Friday when he was handed his cap ahead of the fifth Test at the Oval. Vihari, who has scored truckloads of runs in domestic cricket, is the first cricketer from his state to make it to the national team since current chief selector MSK Prasad.
Vihari and Mumbai youngster Prithvi Shaw were named in the Indian squad for the last two Tests against England.
While Shaw has been the talk of the cricketing circles in the past thanks to his batting prowess since a very young age, Vihari remains a rather unknown entity.
So, who is Hanuma Vihari?
Born in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, India on 13 October, 1993, Vihari has become the first player to play a Test for India from Andhra Pradesh in 19 years after current chief selector MSK Prasad, who made his Test debut in 1999.
The 24-year-old cricketer was also part of the India U-19 World Cup squad in 2012, which went on to lift the trophy. He was picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the next year's auction and thus far has played 22 IPL games. However, his IPL performances have not been too good as he has scored 280 runs in these games at a strike rate of 89.46.
The one rare IPL feat that Vihari has against his name is getting the wicket of Chris Gayle, which also happens to be his only IPL wicket till date.
What has propelled his selection is his performance in Ranji Trophy 2017/18 season, where he amassed 752 runs in just six outings at an average of 94. In the same season, he hit his first triple hundred as well, scoring an unbeaten 302 against Odisha. He replicated the brilliant run in Ranji Trophy in the Irani Trophy game against Vidarbha, where he compiled 183 runs off 327 balls .
His 148 run-knock against South Africa A recently in Bengaluru made his case stronger. Not to forget that he ended up being the third-highest run-getter for India A in one-day tri-series in England, scoring 253 runs in three innings.
Vihari sure has credentials of being a good Test batsman and the selection might have just come at the right time for him. He has an attitude that will surely help him become an able Test cricketer in future. In a recent interview, he mentioned that he is approaching the England tour with an open mind and is looking to learn a lot from the seniors in the team.