‘He hasn’t played a single IPL game’ – Sunil Gavaskar explains why Hanuma Vihari was excluded from New Zealand Tests

After Hanuma Vihari was ruled out of India’s forthcoming Test series against New Zealand, legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar didn’t raise an eyelid. The BCCI named the Test squad on Friday, and the selectors received a lot of flak for leaving Vihari out. Gavaskar, on the other hand, believes Vihari’s omission from the team was due to his inability to play enough cricket in recent months. Vihari went “out of sight” and hence “out of mind” of the selectors, according to Gavaskar, because he did not participate in the 2021 Indian Premier League. Performances in the IPL, according to the 72-year-old veteran, have often affected national team selections.

To be honest, I wasn’t surprised because he hadn’t played cricket in a long time. He hasn’t played cricket in the last three or four months because he hasn’t participated in the IPL. Others who have been chosen, on the other hand, have played some cricket, though not necessarily Test cricket, so that could be why they were chosen,” Gavaskar told Sports Today.

“Also, we’ve seen through the years that the IPL performances are generally the ones that nudge the selection committee, so that appears to have happened.” He continued, “Hanuma Vihari hasn’t played a single IPL game, so he’s out of sight, out of mind.”

Meanwhile, Vihari has been appointed to the India A team, which will face South Africa in three white-ball games at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein, captained by Priyank Panchal. According to sources familiar with the situation, the selectors wanted Vihari to be match-ready for India’s next trip to South Africa. The Test matches in Johannesburg, Centurion, and Cape Town will kick off India’s South Africa trip on Friday, December 17. Vihari last played international cricket in January, when India visited Australia on a tour.

Following that, he played County Championship cricket for Warwickshire. He scored zero, eight, thirty-two, fifty-two, eight, zero, twenty-three, and forty-three not out in four games. Vihari has scored 624 runs in 12 Tests for India, with one century and four half-centuries.