Aakash Chopra was taken aback by the decision to leave out Indian middle-order batsman, Hanuma Vihari, for the upcoming 2-match Test series against New Zealand at home.
Chopra pointed out that the team management assigns the tough overseas tasks to Vihari, but when it comes to home games where the scoring becomes a bit easier, they exclude him. Doing this will only affect the Hyderabadi’s career, and it may fail to take off, as per Chopra.
“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.”
“[But] you don’t play him [in] the match whenever the easy task comes. It is being said that they are sending him to South Africa for 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,” Chopra said in a video on his YouTube channel.
“He has played just one match in India to date” – Aakash Chopra
Hanuma Vihari played a splendid knock in Sydney, where he managed to save the third Test match against Australia. He kept the Aussies at bay despite being injured, but after all those heroics, he continues to struggle to find a spot in the playing XI.
“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.”
“He made runs in the West Indies. He has a century and a ninety. He saved our honour 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,” Chopra mentioned.
The Indian team will be led by stand-in skipper, Ajinkya Rahane when they take on New Zealand in the first Test.