Team India will return to action in Test cricket on March 4 (Friday) when the side takes on Sri Lanka in the first game of the two-match series in Mohali. The Mohali Test sees a couple of significant landmarks – while Virat Kohli will become the 12th Indian to play 100th Test, the game will also mark the start of Rohit Sharma’s tenure as full-time captain in the longest format.
The Indian squad for the Test series also reflects a transition in the side, with a number of senior players including Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara being dropped. The selection committee placed its faith in the likes of Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer among others, who are likely to take part in the first Test.
Vihari, who has been an integral part of India’s Test squad in the past few years, has seldom had opportunities in the XI due to the presence of Rahane in the XI. However, there also came a time when Vihari himself had suggested that he shouldn’t have played in a particular Test, despite scoring a century in his previous appearance. India’s former fielding coach R Sridhar recalled the moment from the 2019 Test series at home against South Africa.
“During that Vizag Test, I remember he came to me and said ‘Sir, I should not have played this Test’. Hanuma had played that Test because he had got a hundred in the previous Test in Jamaica. In India, we play with certain combinations… We still won that Test match on Day 5 but it took the class of Shami to get us there and took so much out of him,” Sridhar told Cricbuzz.
Sridhar revealed that Vihari further told him he shouldn’t be playing in the next Test and the team should instead play an extra bowler in his place.
“He said, ‘Sir, next Test I shouldn’t play. We should play with an extra bowler because the way we are batting, we don’t need six batters’. Rohit was on fire in that series, Mayank was batting brilliantly at that time and it was also his first Test in India. Hanuma knew that the captain of the team would always keep the team ahead of him. He understands,” Sridhar recalled.
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