Hanuma Vihari, Prithvi Shaw: Who are the latest entrants to India’s Test squad?

first_imgPrithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari are the two new faces in India’s Test squad for the last two matches against England.While the former has been a household name for a while for his exploits with the bat since a very young age, the latter is a relatively lesser known middle-order batsman, who plays for Andhra Pradesh in domestic competitions.Shaw has a number of feathers to his cap. From breaking school records at a young age to captaining India U-19 to a World Cup win in New Zealand earlier in 2018, Shaw has come of age as a player. But none of his achievements so far are world records or firsts.However, Vihari has one to his name and it is better than the two leading batsmen in Test cricket — Virat Kohli and Steve Smith.Vihari has the best first-class average in contemporary cricket. His average of 59.45 is more than Steve Smith, who is the second best Test batsman in the world. The former Australia captain is also second in terms of best average at first-class cricket around the world with 57.27. Kohli, who has played 100 first-class matches, averages 53.97.Also read – Murali Vijay dropped, Prithvi Shaw in India squad for final 2 Tests vs EnglandRohit Sharma has the second highest average from India with 54.71 with Cheteshwar Pujara is third at 53.94.Don Bradman has the highest batting average overall with 95.14 from a total of 234 matches.However, Vihari is yet to play an international match for his country and carrying the impressive show will be a big task.advertisementBut, Vihari is a capable batsman and has done exceedingly well in recent times both domestically and with India A on overseas tours.Also read – India pacers have created fear in England batsmen: Sunil GavaskarIMPRESSIVE FORM Prithvi Shaw scored a hundred against South Africa A in the unofficial Test (BCCI Photo)Shaw has been super form for Mumbai in the domestic season and scored 1418 runs in 14 first-class matches with an average of 56.72 and seven centuries.He was one of the star performers along with Vihari and Mayank Agarwal during India A’s recent tour of the UK.Also read – Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant selection was a masterstroke, says VengsarkarShaw scored 188 in a first-class game against West Indies A in Beckenham and recently scored 136 against South Africa A in Bengaluru as well.Vihari on the other hand, finished the Ranji Trophy season with 752 runs from six matches at an average of 94.00. He scored a career-best 302 not out against Odisha and followed it up with a fighting 327-ball 183 in the Irani Cup against Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha for Rest of India.Following his excellent run of form, Vihari was one of the very few players, who made it to both the India A 50-overs and four-day squads for the England tour. And he grabbed the opportunities with both hands. He scored 253 runs in three innings with a highest of 147 against West Indies A.Also read – India complete historic Test triumph in England: Recapping all seven victoriesHe carried his form forward and smashed a match-winning 148 against South Africa A in Alur in the second unofficial Test. He had also scored a fifty in the first Test in Bengaluru against the same opposition. Now, he has two fifties and a century in his last five first-class innings.PATH TO THE TOP Hanuma Vihari starred for India A in their tour of England (Getty Images)Shaw has had received extreme amount of help from India U-19 and A coach Rahul Dravid and that showed in the Indian Premier League as well. Shaw was impressive with the bat while opening the batting for Delhi Daredevils and scored 222 runs from 9 matches.Also read – Virat Kohli breaks Sourav Ganguly’s record as Test captainOn the back of it, he earned his call-up to the India A side for the tour of England and he impressed immensely over there.However, Vihari’s success comes largely because of his experience in both Indian and English conditions. Not a regular in the Indian Premier League, he played league cricket in England for Hutton CC in the Shephered Neame Essex First Division League in 2014 and 2015 and smashed six centuries.He has also played in Bangladesh and gone to preparatory tours of Sri Lanka with Andhra after choosing to play for the state since moving from Hyderabad in 2016. He is the first player from Andhra to make India’s Test squad in 19 years since MSK Prasad in 1999.Therefore, a call-up to the Test squad was a well deserved one for him. He might not get a game in England this time but he is certainly on the right track forward.For Shaw however, things could be different if one of the openers fail again and India decide to try the youngster based on his stellar form in England with the bat.advertisementlast_img read more