India batter Hanuma Vihari is likely to represent Madhya Pradesh in the upcoming domestic season as he moves on from Andhra.
Vihari had completed the 2022-23 season for Andhra in his second stint with the side. The 29-year-old had previously represented the team between the 2016-17 and 2020-21 seasons.
Vihari began his First-Class career with Hyderabad in 2010 and played for the side until the 2015-16 season and later returned to the side for a solitary year in the 2021-22 season.
“Yes, he (Vihari) has applied for NOC (No Objection Certificate) to make the move. Discussions took place last evening. The Apex Council has yet to approve the decision”, a senior Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) member told Sportstar on Tuesday.
Incidentally, the India Test international last featured in a First-Class match for Andhra against Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar Stadium in Indore in January.
Battling a forearm fracture from a bouncer from his soon-to-be teammate Avesh Khan, the right-handed Vihari valiantly returned to bat by taking a left-handed guard. Vihari’s effort was also lauded by Madhya Pradesh’s veteran coach Chandrakant Pandit.
Vihari, who led Andhra, compiled 490 runs in 14 innings in the Ranji Trophy at an average of 35 last season.
Overall, Vihari has amassed 8600 runs in a 113-match FC career besides 3397 List A and 1478 T20 runs.
He will return to action after a five-month break as captain of the South Zone team in the Duleep Trophy semifinal in Bengaluru next week.
Natarajan on radar
Besides Vihari, MP is also targeting a boost to its bowling attack, with a preference for left-arm specialists.
“Most probably he (Vihari) will play for MP. We have been looking for a batter, a left-arm spinner, and a left-arm pacer for the season. Anukul Roy (Jharkhand) is on the radar. T. Natarajan (Tamil Nadu) and Kulwant Khejroliya (Delhi) are also being looked at,” a Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) official confirmed to Sportstar.
Natarajan, who has played one Test for India during its epic win over Australia in Brisbane, has not featured in a FC match since that match in January 2021. The 32-year-old has not played a domestic FC or List A match for Tamil Nadu since 2019–20, his last outing being a Syed Mushtaq Ali match in October 2022.
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