In the recent days, all news regarding India’s batsmen have been about failures but during such dark hour, Hanuma Vihari’s unique stat is sure to lighten up things.
The 24-year-old batsman from Hyderabad scored a prolific knock of 148 runs against South Africa A in the unofficial Test and courtesy of this splendid performance he has reached to the top of an elite list.
Vihari’s first class average at the moment is 59.45 which is the highest among all present-day cricketers. The second in the list is Steve Smith who averages 57.25. While among Indians, Rohit Sharma is second with an average of 54.71.
This impressive stat is noticeable considering the fact that Vihari is playing first-class cricket for the last eight years and in recent times has played against quality teams such as England and South Africa.
A part of India’s world cup winning U-19 team, Vihari’s rise to the top has been quiet yet speedy. He was part of the Hyderabad team from 2010 and was scoring heavy runs for his Ranji team. Recently he shifted to Andhra Pradesh where he was given the role of captain of the Ranji team. Here too, the right-hand batsman scored consistently and was awarded a place in India A team.
Under Rahul Dravid’s mentorship, Vihari has blossomed in the India A team and despite a shaky beginning has remained a consistent run-maker.
However, what swells Vihari’s batting average is his ability to convert hundreds into big hundreds. In the last five Ranji tournaments, Vihari has scored a double-century at least once and he even has a triple hundred on his name which came against Odisha in 2017. His consistency in the recent times has been staggering as well. In his last 12 innings, he has fifty-plus scores on six occasions.
An average of 59.45 means Vihari is ahead of the Indian captain and the country’s best batsman at the moment, Virat Kohli who averages 53.97, Cheteshwar Pujara who averages 53.94 and Ajinkya Rahane who averages 52.02.
With such prolific performances, Vihari is knocking hard on the doors of the national team and it will be interesting to see how Indian selectors reward Vihari’s performances.