Hanuma Vihari, who has been out of action due to a forearm fracture, is set to make his comeback in competitive cricket as the captain of the South Zone team in the upcoming Duleep Trophy.
The prestigious tournament is scheduled to commence on June 28 in Bengaluru. Vihari sustained the injury during Andhra Pradesh’s Ranji Trophy 2022-23 quarterfinal loss to Madhya Pradesh in Indore, where he faced a fiery spell from pacer Avesh Khan.
During a meeting held on Tuesday, June 13 in Goa, the South Zone Associations assembled to select a strong 15-man squad for the tournament. There will be total six teams which means West Zone, East Zone, Northeast Zone, North Zone and Central Zone will join the competition.
Joining Vihari in the team is KS Bharat, an accomplished wicketkeeper-batter who recently represented India in the World Test Championship final against Australia in London. Bharat will take on the role of wicketkeeper for the South Zone squad, alongside his Andhra teammate Ricky Bhui.
The South Zone selection committee also showed faith in the talent from Tamil Nadu, as Washington Sundar, Sai Sudharsan, Pradosh Ranjan Paul, and Sai Kishore earned their place in the squad.
Of note, Sai Sudharsan had an impressive batting performance during the 2022-23 domestic season for Tamil Nadu, and he played a vital role in helping the Gujarat Titans reach the IPL final.
Adding to the team’s strength, Mayank Agarwal from Karnataka will join the 15-member squad as a top-order batter, accompanied by pace bowler Vyshak Vijaykumar. The South Zone will also have the services of Sai Sudharsan and Tilak Varma, who recently concluded a successful IPL season, making them valuable assets for selection.
KS Bharat, who experienced a tough outing in the World Test Championship final against Australia, will be eager to deliver an improved performance in the Duleep Trophy. A lot will depend on this performance in deciding how long he will fare in the Indian team.
Meanwhile, the Indian selectors, following the batting struggles witnessed in the World Cup final, might be on the lookout for fresh faces to reinforce the squad. Consequently, this tournament presents a golden opportunity for young players to showcase their skills and stake a claim for future national team selections.
The Duleep Trophy promises to be an exciting competition, featuring top cricketers from the South Zone. As Hanuma Vihari returns to action, assuming the captaincy responsibilities, fans eagerly anticipate his leadership and the impressive performances that lie ahead.