“You don’t play him in the match whenever the easy task comes”

Aakash Chopra has questioned Hanuma Vihari‘s omission from the Indian squad for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.

The Indian selectors have chosen Shreyas Iyer ahead of Vihari as a middle-order batter for the Test series against the Black Caps. The latter is being sent to South Africa instead as part of the India A squad.

Aakash Chopra highlighted that Hanuma Vihari has been sidelined whenever the Indian team plays in the usually batter-friendly home conditions. Speaking on his YouTube channel, he elaborated:

“What about Hanuma Vihari? My personal opinion is that one hundred percent you should have picked Hanuma Vihari. He deserves to play Test cricket in India because until he plays in India, he will not score the big runs and till then his career will not take flight. You have got him to do all the difficult tasks till now, you don’t play him [in] the match whenever the easy task comes.”

The former India cricketer added that Vihari could have made it to the playing XI against New Zealand, with the Indian team likely to field an additional batter in the absence of Rishabh Pant. Chopra said:

“It is being said that they are sending him to South Africa for the India A tour. That’s right, that’s good, but why are you not letting him play Tests. Let him play in India, here you have a chance because if Pant is not there, you can play six batters.”

No Hanuma Vihari for the Tests vs #NZ He deserves a home series IMHO.Shreyas has been picked and might play also since no Kohli for the first Test. No Pant too. Has he also been rested like Rohit-Bumrah-Shami? His numbers in England Tests weren’t very flattering tbh. 🧐

Only one of the 12 Tests Vihari has played thus far has come in familiar home conditions. He came in to bat when the Indian team had already crossed the 400-run mark against South Africa in that encounter. Consequently, Vihari did not have much chance to play a substantial knock.

“Hanuma Vihari got injured in Sydney but despite that, he kept fighting” – Aakash Chopra

Hanuma Vihari helped India save the Sydney Test against Australia.
Hanuma Vihari helped India save the Sydney Test against Australia.

Aakash Chopra pointed out that Hanuma Vihari hasn’t had a chance to play for India after his gritty match-saving knock in Sydney. Chopra observed:

“Where did he play his last Test innings, in Sydney. He got injured in Sydney but despite that, he kept fighting. He has played just one match in India to date and I think he got just one innings. Other than that, you have never played him in India.”

The 44-year-old added that apart from his match-saving partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin in Sydney, Vihari played a few substantial knocks in the West Indies as well. Chopra stated:

“He made runs in the West Indies, he has a century and a ninety. He saved our honor in Sydney, because of him the match was drawn, Ravichandran Ashwin was definitely there with him but we cannot ignore Hanuma Vihari’s contribution and he is not the part of the Test team now.”

Vihari withstood the Aussie attack for almost four hours while scoring an unbeaten 23 as his partnership with Ashwin helped India stay level in the series. The 28-year-old suffered a hamstring tear during the initial stages of his knock but soldiered on to keep the Australian bowlers at bay.

Edited by Anantaajith Ra

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