Hanuma Vihari is Cheteshwar Pujara’s apprentice in Team India: R Sridhar

Hanuma Vihari in action during the Sydney Test.

Hanuma Vihari (left) and Ravichandran Ashwin after helping India draw the Sydney Test

Team India fielding coach R Sridhar is of the opinion that Hanuma Vihari is Cheteshwar Pujara’s apprentice in the team.

Hanuma Vihari scored an unbeaten 23 off 161 balls with a torn hamstring to help India save the Sydney Test. Batting for over 43 overs, he stiched an unbeaten 62-run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin for the sixth wicket.

Speaking highly about Hanuma Vihari’s skill-set, R Sridhar told Cricketnext:

“We all know Vihari is in the mould of a Pujara. We always labelled him as Pujara’s apprentice. He’s always thought he’s someone who can do what Pujara does for Indian cricket. He has got the temperament, concentration and skill-set. He’s one of the better players of spin in the country.” 

Explaining Hanuma Vihari’s injury, R Sridhar said that the 27-year-old’s hamstring snapped because fielding in the forward short leg for three consecutive Tests took a toll on his body.

The injury prevented him from playing any further part in the series and has also ruled him out of the first two Tests against England.

R Sridhar further explained how Hanuma Vihari’s injury was a blessing in disguise in Sydney. He cited the example of VVS Laxman’s match-winning knocks in Mohali and Colombo, where the former batsman battled pain to overcome the odds.

“Pain always brings out the best in you. I was talking to (VVS) Laxman the other day, about how he played in Mohali (against Australia) and in Colombo (against Sri Lanka) in acute pain and won matches for India. He said pain always brings the best out of you, helps you concentrate more. That day, that pain for Vihari was probably a blessing in disguise in hindsight. He was able to concentrate against some extremely good quality fast bowling. He pulled it off for the team. He himself said he owed it for the team,” R Sridhar added.

In Sydney, Hanuma Vihari scored only six off his first 100 balls – the second-lowest score by any batsman to have played 100 deliveries. England’s John Murray scored three from the first 100 balls he had faced.

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