In a significant development for Andhra cricket, Hanuma Vihari has relinquished his role as captain for the remainder of the Ranji Trophy season. Following a hard-fought draw against Bengal in the opening round, Ricky Bhui will now lead the Andhra side. Despite stepping down from captaincy duties, he remains an integral part of the playing XI as Andhra gears up to face Mumbai in a Group B clash at the Sharad Pawar Academy in BKC, Mumbai.
Vihari, who last represented India in 2022 against England in Birmingham, had captained Andhra to the knockouts in the previous season. However, their journey was cut short as they succumbed to a defeat against Madhya Pradesh in the quarter-finals. Notably, he exhibited remarkable resilience in that match, batting left-handed for a substantial part of the encounter after fracturing his left forearm due to an Avesh Khan bouncer.
In the previous season, he showcased his batting prowess by amassing 490 runs in 14 innings, averaging 35 with two half-centuries. The seasoned cricketer also led South Zone in the Duleep Trophy and captained the Rest of India in the Irani Cup against Ranji champions Saurashtra.
Vihari backs his talent with stellar showings in the domestic circuit
Before the commencement of the current season, there were speculations about the batting all-rounder contemplating a move to Madhya Pradesh under the guidance of renowned coach Chandrakant Pandit to revive his Test career. However, Andhra managed to retain him at the eleventh hour. Despite a lukewarm performance in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and going unsold in the IPL 2024 auction, he contributed significantly in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, scoring 229 runs at a brisk strike rate of 149.67.
Ricky Bhui, who has previously led Andhra 22 times across formats and five times in Ranji Trophy matches, takes over the reins from the 30-year-old. His stellar knock of 175 in the recent clash against Bengal marked his 15th first-class hundred, establishing his credentials as a leader for Andhra in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season.