Sunil Gavaskar explains why Hanuma Vihari was excluded from New Zealand Tests

Sunil Gavaskar

Legendary batter Sunil Gavaskar didn’t furrow eyebrows after Hanuma Vihari was left out from India’s upcoming Test series against New Zealand. On Friday, the BCCI named the Test squad and the selectors faced a lot of backlashes for leaving Vihari out. However, Gavaskar reckoned that not playing enough cricket over the last few months led to Vihari’s exclusion from the team.

Gavaskar was of the opinion that since Vihari didn’t play in the 2021 Indian Premier League, he went “out of sight” and therefore, “out of mind” of the national selectors. Moreover, the 72-year-old veteran said that performances in the IPL have often influenced selections in the national team.

Sunil Gavaskar puts forth his opinions

“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.

“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.

In the meantime, the selectors have added Vihari to the India A squad, led by Priyank Panchal, for the three white-ball games against South Africa at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein. Sources, privy to the development, said that the selectors wanted Vihari to stay match-ready for India’s upcoming tour of South Africa.

India’s South Africa tour starts on Friday, December 17 with the Test matches to take place in Johannesburg, Centurion and Cape Town. Vihari last played international cricket back in January during India’s tour of Australia.

Thereafter, he plied his trade for Warwickshire in the County Championship. He played four games and got scores of 0, 8, 32, 52, 8, 0, 24 and 43 not out. Vihari has played 12 Tests for India, scoring 624 runs with one century and four half-centuries.

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