IND vs ENG: All-rounder Hanuma hails from a Vihari, Very Special club in Hyderabad

Sep 07, 2018, 08:31 IST | Harit N Joshi

The Andhra all-rounder, boasting the highest first-class average of 59.27 in the world, is all set to make his India debut in the fifth and final Test against England at The Oval today

IND vs ENG: All-rounder Hanuma hails from a Vihari, Very Special club in Hyderabad
Hanuma Vihari

After following in the footsteps of former India batting great VVS Laxman since the age of 11, G Hanuma Vihari, 24, is in line to break into the big league of international cricket. The Andhra all-rounder, boasting the highest first-class average of 59.27 in the world, is all set to make his India debut in the fifth and final Test against England at The Oval today.

Vihari had to deal with a major setback in his life after losing his father just six months into formal cricket coaching at St John's Academy in Hyderabad, where Laxman honed his skills. Vihari's mother Vijaya, however, did not let her son's cricket be affected by the unfortunate turn of events. He then gained admission at St Andrew's School, where John Manoj, his coach at the academy, was sports director.

Former Hyderabad cricketer Nagesh Hammond had recommended Vihari to Manoj. "Tragedy struck as soon as he joined the academy but he was a brave child and did not let the huge loss affect his cricket. We always had a dream of producing another India cricketer from our academy after Laxman and we found great potential in Vihari. He loves playing in the 'V' [region between mid-on and mid-off]. His cover drives and cuts are a treat to watch. It will be a big moment for all of us if he makes his India debut today," Manoj told mid-day from Hyderabad.

Vihari was part of Unmukt Chand's U-19 World Cup-winning team in 2012 and has steadily moved up the ladder. In 2016, he made the career-changing decision of leaving Hyderabad for Andhra after consulting Manoj, who incidentally signed his No Objection Certificate (NOC) as the secretary of Hyderabad Cricket Association. Vihari, who scored 752 runs in six Ranji Trophy matches for Andhra last season, may not be a household name in India as he does not boast of an T20 contract, like some of his peers.

But instead of losing sleep over no T20 contract since 2015, he focused on playing leagues in England and Bangladesh. "Of course, he was disappointed that no T20 team wanted him, but his ultimate dream was always to play Test cricket for India. And once that is achieved, everything else will follow. Playing leagues in England helped him develop with two and three-day games. He has matured now and I am 100 per cent sure he would do well for the Indian team," Manoj signed off.

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