Golden arm that bamboozled Chris Gayle and other things to know about India's Hanuma Vihari

Ashish Peter 24/08/2018
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Hanuma Vihari was recently handed an India Test call up.

As India’s selectors announced the squad for the final two Tests against England, two new names in the list caught the eye.

The first was that of Prithvi Shaw who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in cricket ever since he burst on to the stage with a world-record 546 in the local Harris Shield tournament as a 14-year-old.

The second was that of Hanuma Vihari, a 24-year-old top-order batsman from the state of Andhra Pradesh.

A prolific run-getter in the domestic circuit in recent years, Vihari’s maiden India call up has put him in the spotlight.

Here, we take a look at some interesting facts about the talented right-hander.

FIRST IN A LONG TIME FOR ANDHRA PRADESH

Vihari is the first Andhra Pradesh player to be called up to the Indian squad since 1999 when current chief selector MSK Prasad made his debut.

There have been other players from the state like the great VVS Laxman and Ambati Rayudu who have turned out for India but they all played their domestic cricket for the city of Hyderabad instead of the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Vihari switched from Hyderabad to Andhra in the 2016/17 season.

Vihari will be switching base to Hyderabad from the coming season.

Vihari will be switching base to Hyderabad from the coming season.

OUTSTANDING 2017-18 SEASON

It was Vihari’s performance with the bat in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season that attracted the attention of the selectors. He garnered 752 runs in six innings at an average of 94 with the help of a triple ton against Odisha for Andhra.

A knock of 183 in Rest of India’s Irani Trophy match against Vidarbha further cemented his credentials as he was called up to the India ‘A’ side to tour England. There, he scored 253 runs in three List A matches including a 147 against the West Indies A.

His performance for India ‘A’ in their two recent first-class matches against their South African counterparts sealed the deal for Vihari. In the first match at Bengaluru, he registered a half-century before following it up with an innings of 148 in the second match at Alur.

The top-order batsman was impressive in India A's tour of England.

The top-order batsman was impressive in India A’s tour of England.

UNDER-19 WORLD CUP WINNER

Like Prithvi Shaw this year, Vihari has also been a part of a victorious Indian team at the U19 World Cup. He was a member of the Unmukt Chand-led India squad which lifted the world title in Australia in 2012.

The batsman was not part of the initial squad and was added at the last minute after Manan Vohra suffered an injury on the eve of the team’s departure to Australia.

Vihari is an U19 World Cup winner for India.

Vihari is an U19 World Cup winner for India.

WICKET OF CHRIS GAYLE IN THE IPL

Despite his solid domestic record, Vihari has not been able to make a mark in the IPL. He has made only 22 appearances in total in the league with the last of them coming in 2015.

His numbers in the IPL are nothing to write home about with only 280 runs in 22 innings. However, the highlight of Vihar’s IPL career has come with the ball in hand.

In the 2013 edition, he claimed the wicket of Chris Gayle with his part-time off spin in the very first over of the match. That remains his only IPL wicket to date.

Vihari managed to get the better of Gayle in 2013.

Vihari managed to get the better of Gayle in 2013.

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Joe Root and Jos Buttler agree Sydney Thunder stint in Big Bash League

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The two Englishmen will turn out for Sydney Thunder.

England Test skipper Joe Root and batsman Jos Buttler have been provided No Objection Certificates by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to participate in the next edition of the Big Bash League (BBL).

The England duo have signed for BBL franchise Sydney Thunder and will be made available for the first half of the competition which gets underway in December.

This will be Root’s maiden appearance in a T20 league outside England while Buttler is already part of various leagues like the IPL. Root had also thrown his hat in the ring in the IPL auction at the start of the year but failed to find any takers for his signature.

The England Test skipper has been on record previously wanting to improve his T20 record as he bids to make the squad for the 2020 World Twenty20 to be held in Australia.

“I want to gain as much experience as possible in T20 cricket. It’s one of those tournaments where you want to be involved in it and I’m really excited to get that opportunity now with Sydney,” Root said recently.

“I’m sure there will be some mixed emotions for the fans, but hopefully I can win them over through the time there. There’s an opportunity for myself now to put in some strong performances and help Sydney Thunder go on and do some special things this year,” he added.

Buttler, meanwhile, will be turning out for the Sydney franchise for the second successive year.

“I loved my time there, there’s a great atmosphere in the group. There’s a lot of young guys but some experience in there as well, including Shane Watson, who I really got to enjoy getting to know and playing under his captaincy,” Buttler said.

The two England stars will play in the first half of the tournament in Australia before returning to join up with the England squad for the tour of West Indies at the start of 2019.

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Michael Holding still not convinced by India pacer Jasprit Bumrah's new ball suitability

Sudhir Gupta 24/08/2018
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Bumrah had starred in India's 203-run win at Trent Bridge.

West Indies fast bowling great Michael Holding has been in the headlines of late after his comments on India’s Hardik Pandya.

The legendary pacer had said that Pandya was ‘nowhere close to Kapil Dev’ while questioning his suitability to the role of India’s seaming all-rounder.

The India all-rounder had then hit back at his critics following his maiden five-wicket haul in India’s 203-run win over England in the third Test at Edgbaston.

During India’s tour of South Africa at the start of the year, the West Indies man had also cast doubts over Jasprit Bumrah’s suitability to take the new ball for India and had claimed that he would not pick him for the series in England.

Bumrah returned from a thumb injury to bag seven wickets in Nottingham including a five-wicket haul in the second innings. His hostile spell with the second new ball during England’s second innings resulted in the wickets of Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes in quick succession as India fought their way back into the five-match series.

Despite that display on his maiden Test in English soil, Holding is still not convinced by Bumrah’s new ball abilities.

“I would still not have him (Bumrah) as my opening bowler. Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami do a bit more with the brand new ball and they will remain my opening bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s absence,” Holding said to the Times of India.

Bumrah picked up 5-85 in England's second innings at Trent Bridge.

Bumrah picked up 5-85 in England’s second innings at Trent Bridge.

“What I have seen is he can get the ball to straighten from wide of the crease and is more effective with the slightly older ball.”

“What you have to remember is that in England, with so much assistance from both pitch and atmosphere for the quick bowlers, Bumrah will get the odd ball to straighten on the right-handers’ off-stump, although his action doesn’t enhance his ability to do so.

“The same delivery in South Africa, Australia, etc would not straighten as it can tend to do in England. He has pace, though, which is a welcome asset that cannot be bought.”

The former pacer also clarified his previous comments on Pandya.

“Please go back and listen to or read what I have said about Pandya. I was more critical of the people who were telling me he is the next Kapil Dev, not of Pandya himself. I have gone on to say that he is not the man to fill that sort of role as yet, batting at number six and bowling. What I am glad also to see is that I read somewhere that he had said he doesn’t want to be known as the new Kapil Dev; he is Hardik Pandya, which is the right attitude,” Holding said.

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