Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir feels that Hanuma Vihari should be persisted with despite Ajinkya Rahane’s fluent half-century on Day 3 of the Johannesburg Test against South Africa.
Virat Kohli sat out of the second Test due to an upper back spasm. In his place, Vihari finally got an opportunity and he looked comfortable in both innings. However, he might well be dropped for the next Test as Rahane also managed to score a crucial 58 in India’s second innings.
“It will be very unfortunate if he doesn’t play the next Test because if Rahane has scored a fifty, then Hanuma Vihari has also scored 40 not out. If Hanuma Vihari had batted at that number instead of Rahane, probably he would have also scored a fifty.”
“The control with which Vihari has batted in both the innings, you want to give such a batter a long rope. It should not be that you play him a match, then leave him out and play him the next Test after six months or a year,” Gambhir said on Star Sports.
“The time has come to back Hanuma Vihari” – Gautam Gambhir
Gambhir thinks that Rahane has had his fair share of time to prove his worth, and having been unsuccessful in doing so, he should be excluded from the final Test and Vihari should be given the opportunity instead.
“We have seen for a long time what performance Rahane has given. I believe when Virat Kohli comes in the next Test match, he bats at No. 4 in place of Rahane, and Vihari bats at No. 5.”
“It’s the right move and right direction going forward as well because if the team management has backed Rahane so much, the time has come to back Hanuma Vihari as much because he has looked very solid in both innings,” Gambhir added.
India’s middle-order has been weak for quite a while and Vihari could well be the answer to the troubles.