Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir said that it will be very unfair on Hanuma Vihari if he misses the final Test of the three-match series against South Africa in Cape Town.
Vihari played in the second Test of the series as a replacement for skipper Virat Kohli, which got ruled out with an upper back spasm. Ahead of The series, there was an uproar on social media to include him in the XI ahead of out of form senior batters like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
But that didn’t happen as Pujara and Rahane started ahead of him and they went on to score crucial fifties in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test as well. However, Vihari made his opportunity count as well and played a vital knock of an unbeaten 40, while batting at No.5.
Gambhir is of the opinion that Vihari should be persisted with as he deserves an equal amount of chances than someone like Rahane, who has been backed even though he has gone through a rough patch for a long time.
“It would be very unfortunate if he doesn’t play the next Test. If Rahane has scored a fifty, even Hanuma Vihari remained unbeaten on 40. If Vihari had batted in Rahane’s position (in second innings), he might have scored a fifty as well. He has played with control in both innings,” Gambhir said on Star Sports
“You would want to give a long rope to such a batter. You don’t just play him in one game, then keep him out for the rest of the year. It is very unfair. We’ve seen Rahane’s performances for a long time now. So, I think that when Virat Kohli comes back in the next Test, he should bat at number 4 with Hanuma Vihari at 5. Going forward, I think it’s a right move in the right direction.”
Gambhir also said that Vihari looked solid in both innings and that’s why he should be allowed to retain his place in the Cape Town Test match. He thinks that it’s time for the management to place their faith in Vihari.
The Andhra batter has played 13 Test matches to date and has amassed 684 runs at an average of 34.20, including one century and four fifties.