Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari (Image Credit: Twitter)

Former Indian player Sunil Gavaskar reckoned that Hanuma Vihari’s exclusion from the Indian squad for the New Zealand Test series was because of the Hyderabad batter not playing in IPL.

Vihari hasn’t played a Test match for India since his brilliant rock-solid defensive innings against Australia in Sydney.

Vihari was part of India’s squad for the World Test Championship final and England Test series but was seen warming the bench in the entire tour of the United Kingdom.

Really was not surprised: Sunil Gavaskar on Hanuma Vihari’s exclusion

Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal were back in the Test squad after missing the England series owing to various injuries.

Players like Shreyas Iyer and Srikar Bharat, who are yet to make their debut in Test cricket, were also roped in the squad based on their IPL performance.

Gavaskar said that he wasn’t shocked after seeing Vihari get dropped and said that because he did not play in the IPL, the selectors opted for those players who seemed in good touch.

“I really was not surprised to be honest because he hasn’t played any cricket in the interim. He hasn’t played in the IPL so hasn’t had any cricket under his belt in the last three or four months. On the other hand, the others who have been selected have had some cricket, not necessarily Test cricket, so maybe that’s the reason why they came into the picture,” Gavaskar told Sports Today.

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari (Image Credit: Twitter)

Also, a lot of times we have seen over the years that the performances in the IPL have invariably been the ones that nudge the selection committee so that seems to have happened. Hanuma Vihari hasn’t played a single IPL game so out of sight, out of mind,” he added.

Hanuma Vihari some match practice in India A Tour of South Africa: Sunil Gavaskar

Vihari has been included in India A squad for the South Africa tour later this month.

India is scheduled to tour South Africa for a month-long tour and  Gavaskar feels that Vihari could get a better experience of the pitches in South Africa from India A tour.

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I think if he’s playing and scoring in the ‘A’ team, that’s very good. He’ll be playing in the same conditions, will get some match practise under his belt. He’ll get a feel of the conditions, the pitch conditions, and everything. And therefore he’ll be absolutely ready in case he’s called for the Test team. So that’s a big advantage for him going to South Africa with the ‘A’ team,” Gavaskar said.

India will start the Test series against New Zealand on November 25 in Kanpur followed by the second Test in Mumbai.

Also Read: Let Him Play In India – Aakash Chopra Berates Decision To Leave Hanuma Vihari Out For New Zealand Series