After India suffered a seven-wicket defeat against South Africa in the Johannesburg Test, Gautam Gambhir has stated that it will be very unfortunate if Hanuma Vihari does not play the Cape Town fixture. Vihari scored 20 and 40 not out in the first and second innings respectively at the Wanderers.
South Africa handed a resounding seven-wicket defeat to India in the second Test of the three-match series in Johannesburg. With the win in the second fixture of the red-ball series, the Proteas have levelled the series 1-1. In the process, South Africa also registered their first Test win against India at the Wanderers.
However, despite losing the second Test, the half-centuries from the senior batsmen, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the second innings will be positive signs for India while heading to the series decider in Cape Town. Hanuma Vihari, who replaced injured Virat Kohli for the Johannesburg Test also played crucial knocks of 20 and 40 not out in the first and second innings respectively.
With Virat Kohli returning for the Cape Town Test, Vihari’s chances of earning a spot in India playing XI for the final fixture is doubtful. Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir has backed Vihari and stated that it will be very unfortunate if the right-hand batsman does not play the Cape Town Test. The former Indian cricketer further added that Rahane had enough chances to prove his worth, and Vihari should be given the opportunity in the series decider.
“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,” 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,” he added.
Gambhir reckoned that the Team India management have backed Rahane so much in the past, and it is time to put their faith in Hanuma Vihari.
“If the team management has backed Rahane so much, it is time for them to put their faith in Hanuma Vihari as well, because he has looked solid in both, the first as well as the second innings,” said the former India opener.
The final Test of the three-match series will be played from January 11 to 15 in Cape Town.