Gade Hanuma Vihari
October 13, 1993, Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
A classically correct middle-order batsman, Hanuma Vihari is proof that runs in domestic cricket matters. He made his debut for India at 24, by which time he was averaging nearly 60 in first-class cricket and it was the knowledge of what it takes to score big runs that helped Vihari become a first-choice pick within months of his introduction to Test cricket.
He emerged as the best batsman on both sides during a 2-0 victory over West Indies in 2019, with 289 runs in four innings. At the end of that series, India's captain Virat Kohli said the dressing room always feels calm when they see Vihari batting out in the middle because he was so correct in his approach.
Some of that was hard to see when he made his debut against England at The Oval in 2018. He could have been out for a duck had Stuart Broad decided to use DRS but he didn't and Vihari put that nervy start behind him to compile a half-century in his first Test innings.
He then opened the innings against Australia in Melbourne as a make-shift option, and though he didn't get big runs, he showed staying power. His relative failure as an opener was - rightly - not held against him, and he earned his middle order spot back on India's next Test tour, to the West Indies, where he got into the XI ahead of Rohit Sharma, a move that was surprising at the time but eventually also series-winning.
Vihari began his career with Hyderabad in 2010, but then shifted to neighbouring Andhra in 2016. While he was making consistent runs in domestic cricket each season, his first India A call-up happened only in 2017.
At one point it looked like he might be one of several talented Indian batsmen who would have to make do with great domestic careers. Part of Unmukt Chand's World Cup-winning Under-19 team in 2012, Vihari saw several team-mates gain more prominence in the next few years. Even with India A, success was not immediate, but Vihari was fortunate that his rise coincided with MSK Prasad being the chief of selectors. The former India and Andhra wicketkeeper had had the opportunity to observe Vihari closely, and knew he was quality. Vihari would repay the faith with performances against South Africa A and New Zealand A, and then with the Indian team.
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