Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari AP Photo

Wasim Jaffer, the former Indian opener believes the time is right for Hanuma Vihari to become India’s Test mainstay at No. 3. After a string of poor performances from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, the duo has been dropped for the Test series against Sri Lanka.

This latest development has opened up a couple of spots in the Indian batting line-up and Wasim Jaffer feels Hanuma Vihari should be given preference this time. For most of his Test career so far, the latter has been an unsung hero, playing some gritty knocks that have seemingly gone under the radar. But his courageous knock in Sydney, where he saved the game for his country while battling an injury, brought him some well-deserved plaudits.

Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)
Wasim Jaffer (Credits: Twitter)

Wasim Jaffer: Hanuma Vihari Hasn’t Made Any Mistakes To Miss Out

Wasim Jaffer explained why Hanuma Vihari should bat at No.3 despite India having other options like Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer. The toss-up for a place in the playing XI will be between 10 Test old Shubman Gill and 2 Test old in form batsman Shreyas Iyer.

“According to me, Rohit and Mayank will open since KL isn’t available for this series. There is a debate between Vihari and Shubman Gill. But I would go with Vihari because after his innings in Sydney he hasn’t got many chances and I don’t think he has made any mistake to miss out this time. So I think he should get the first opportunity. So for me, he is a No. 3.”

Hanuma Vihari (Image Credit: Twitter)
Hanuma Vihari (Image Credit: Twitter)

Hanuma Vihari has scored 684 runs in 13 Tests averaging 34.2. He battled a hamstring injury to hit a match-saving 23 runs from 161 balls against Australia in the Sydney 3rd Test.  Interestingly, Hanuma Vihari has played only a single Test match at home since making his debut in the longest format in 2018.

Wasim Jaffer: Mohali Would Offer Something For Pacers

Wasim Jaffer also opted for a five-pronged bowling attack for the first Test at Mohali. With Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin being his first-choice spinners, the former Indian opener thinks it will be fair to play three pacers. Wasim Jaffer’s choices were Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami.

Further elaborating on the reason for selecting three pacers, he opined: “Because we are playing in India, we can afford to play five bowlers. So for me Jadeja at No. 7, Ashwin at No. 8, followed by Bumrah, Siraj, and Shami. I think Mohali would offer something for the quicks and the reverse swing can be on offer too. “

Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (AP Photos)
Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (AP Photos)

The first Test between India and Sri Lanka will begin on Friday, March 4. It will be Rohit Sharma’s first Test as an Indian skipper and will also mark Virat Kohli’s 100th Test.

India Playing 11 (predicted): Rohit Sharma (C), Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj