IND vs NZ 2021, First Test: After white-washing Blackcaps in the T20I series, Team India, under the coaching of Rahul Dravid, would look to keep their outstanding home Test record going in the two-match Test series against New Zealand.
India will be without their captain Virat Kohli, star batsman Rohit Sharma, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and fast bowling duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. These players have been rested to manage the workload after a massive playing season in which Indian cricketers played non-stop cricket.
However, the biggest talking point of the squad has been the absence of Hanuma Vihari, who won many hearts in India with his spirited show of batting in the Border-Gavaskar trophy Down Under.
Fans were expecting to see Vihari in the playing XI, especially in the absence of Kohli and Rohit, after his heroics in Sydney during India’s tour of Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, that helped India win an unforgettable series.
Shreyas Iyer, who hasn’t even made his Test debut, was picked ahead of Hanuma Vihari, and this led to a massive debate among the pundits and fans. Interestingly, later, when KL Rahul was ruled out due to an injury, even then Vihari was ignored and Suryakumar Yadav was named as KL’s replacement.
Many fans are wondering why Hanuma Vihari has been ignored despite his brilliant performance in Australia, for a home series. As per a report in the Times of India, Shreyas Iyer was included in the team ahead of Hanuma Vihari because the selectors wanted a more aggressive batter in the team, who can take-on the Kiwi bowlers and lodge counter-attacks.
As per media reports, Hanuma Vihari was excluded from the squad because his style is very similar to that of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha. And, Iyer, who is a more attacking option, was given a go ahead.
So, the reason behind Hanuma Vihari’s exclusion was his inability to play counter-attacking cricket.