The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Team India’s squad for the upcoming home Test series against New Zealand on Friday.
Regular captain Virat Kohli was rested for the two-match series opener, and in his absence, Ajinkya Rahane was chosen to lead the side. Though, Kohli will join the Indian outfit as skipper in the second and last Test.
A few notable exclusions from the Test squad included T20I skipper Rohit Sharma, wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, frontline pacer Jasprit Bumrah and middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari. Players like Rohit, Pant and Bumrah will be seen in the T20I series, starting November 17. But Vihari, who only plays Test cricket, was found missing from the red-ball squad, which surprised many.
Vihari has been a regular member of the Indian Test team for the last few years and has done reasonably well. He also saved India from a defeat in his last appearance against Australia in Sydney earlier this year. Hence, his omission raised several eyebrows, and fans slammed the Indian board for ignoring Vihari.
Here is how Netizens reacted:
No Hanuma Vihari for the Tests vs #NZ He deserves a home series IMHO.
Shreyas has been picked and might play also since no Kohli for the first Test. No Pant too. Has he also been rested like Rohit-Bumrah-Shami? His numbers in England Tests weren’t very flattering tbh. 🧐
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) November 12, 2021
Am I missing something here? I cannot see a reason why #HanumaVihari is not in the test squad for #IndvsNZ. Injury? Can't be on cricketing grounds….there hasn't been any first-class cricket. Surely it can't be right. His last innings for India was that heroic effort at Sydney.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) November 12, 2021
If Hanuma Vihari is indeed not injured then perhaps the selectors’ memories of his selfless heroics in the last Test he played for the country are as blurred as these rather poorly taken live pictures at the SCG in January #IndvNZ pic.twitter.com/YxRio3MB4t
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) November 12, 2021
I think it's only fair that selectors share their view on Hanuma Vihari & why he has been ignored. Vihari ticked all the right boxes to raise his hand for Test selection. I see no reason why he should be dropped. If the selectors have a view, they should be loud & clear about it.
— KSR (@KShriniwasRao) November 12, 2021
I'm told Hanuma Vihari is fit and has been dropped. He will join the India A team which will play three four-day matches in South Africa. Very, very harsh call on him.
— Venkata Krishna B (@venkatatweets) November 12, 2021
This was Hanuma Vihari's last test match for India. Very sad that he has been dropped from the squad. pic.twitter.com/FjqGvrOi0r
— ` (@FourOverthrows) November 12, 2021
“His scan reports are in and he has a Grade 2 tear which means the boy batted for around 3 hours with searing pain. He deserves praise for standing there and holding fort like a true champion” (In historic Sydney test draw, 2021)
just reminding who Hanuma Vihari is! 🙂🙏
— Neeche Se Topper (@NeecheSeTopper) November 12, 2021
Among players to make their debut in the 21st century, only two world-wide have a better first-class batting average than Hanuma Vihari (min 50 games)
Steve Smith (57.1)
Fawad Alam (56.7)
Hanuma Vihari (55.00)
We don't want another Fawad story. Give the guy a fair run #INDvNZ
— Rohit Sankar (@imRohit_SN) November 12, 2021
Hanuma Vihari scored 23 off 161 deliveries against #AUS with injuries. And save India from lost the test match. Now he has dropped from the squad !! This is horrible 😞#HanumaVihari #INDvsNZ#INDvNZ #NZvsINDpic.twitter.com/vqiBFUnlOq
— CRICKET VIDEOS 🏏 (@AbdullahNeaz) November 12, 2021
— Harshith Teja (@Harshith_Teja_) November 12, 2021
The first Test will be played at the Green Park in Kanpur, while the second and last match of the red-ball series will be hosted by the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.