Aakash Chopra lashed out at India’s selection committee for a “grave mistake” they committed to dropping Test specialist Hanuma Vihari for the two-match Test series against New Zealand, which begins from November 25. Aakash Chopra’s tweet came shortly after opener KL Rahul was ruled out of the entire series with a muscle strain.
Aakash Chopra: Leaving Out Hanuma Vihari Was A Grave Mistake, To Begin With
Taking to Twitter, Aakash Chopra said, “Leaving out Hanuma Vihari for the #IndvNZ Tests looks like a faux pas now. It was a grave mistake, to begin with…”
An hour earlier, opener KL Rahul was ruled out of the Test series with a muscle strain on his left thigh, and hence the board named Suryakumar Yadav as his replacement. This development implies that Shubman Gill, who was expected to take a middle-order position in the series, will now open for India as usual, and either Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav will make their Test debut on Thursday and fill the empty middle-order spot.
Ajay Jadeja Too Was Disappointed With Hanuma Vihari Getting Dropped
Aakash Chopra hence felt that Hanuma Vihari’s inclusion in the squad would have avoided a new addition, and India would have straightaway relied on the Test specialist, who has managed to feature in only one home Test in his 12-match career. The veteran cricketer Aakash Chopra isn’t alone who slammed the selectors for this decision. Former cricketer Ajay Jadeja too, was disappointed with Hanuma Vihari getting dropped after the squad was announced.
“Vihari, poor guy. He did well. He has been with Indian cricket for a while, done well. What has he done wrong? Why should he go to India A tour, why can’t he play a Test match at home? Or don’t send him on A tour also. Somebody who has been with the team, now goes to India A tour and a new guy comes in. That’s messing with people’s minds,” explained Jadeja.
Interestingly, Hanuma Vihari hasn’t played more than a single Test match at home since making his debut in the longest format in 2018. However, the Hyderabad-based batter has been a vital cog for the side overseas and has constantly put in good performances. Most recently, between December 2020 and January 2021, Hanuma Vihari gained immense popularity by playing through an injury to save the Sydney Test match with Ravichandran Ashwin against Australia.
Hanuma Vihari has scored 624 runs in 12 Tests averaging 32.84. Hanuma Vihari battled a hamstring injury to hit a match-saving 23 runs from 161 balls against Australia in the Sydney 3rd Test. However, he missed out on the 4th and final Test at Gabba that India went on to win and script history. Since then, Hanuma Vihari has not played for India in Tests. He was part of the Test squad for the England series but did not get a game.
To make matters more intriguing, hours after the uproar over Hanuma Vihari’s exclusion, the BCCI made him a late entrant of the India ‘A’ squad for a tour of South Africa.