Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said that Hanuma Vihari’s role as an opener is not a permanent one and that he would be given ample chances to bat in the middle-order if he somehow fails at the top.
Vihari, who made his Test debut in England would open the innings alongside Mayank Agarwal in the Boxing Day Test match after the Indian team management dropped the out-of-form duo of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul.
When asked in the opener’s slot would be a bit harsh on Vihari, Prasad said, “”He would be given a fair chance in the middle order should he fail to make an impression as an opener in the next two Tests.”
He added that Vihari’s abilities in domestic cricket for Andhra convinced him that he would be able to tackle the Kookaburra.
It’s fine. Technically, we feel that Vihari is well-equipped. There were times where Cheteshwar Pujara also opened when the team required. The team demands it and definitely, I hope he will come out successful. Definitely, it is not a long-term solution, I can tell you that.”
For Prasad, Vihari’s situation is no different. He was also handed the same responsibility during the 1999 series.
But he advised Vihari to take this as an opportunity instead.
I always feel that it (opening against Australia in 1999) was an opportunity given to me which I didn’t really live up to. We think Vihari is well-equipped to do so (than Rohit Sharma). We are convinced with his technique and definitely, he is a long-term prospect for Indian Test cricket.”
When asked about the future of Vijay and Rahul, he said, “We have called in Mayank Agarwal and he is in good form after that India-A series, so naturally he gets into the side. Going by current form, we all know that the current openers are not really living up to the expectation.
“That is the reason why (they have both been dropped). It’s really unfortunate.”
“I think the next Test series is only seven months from now, it is definitely a point to ponder,” added Prasad.