‘Didn’t want to put pressure on Pujara’: Hanuma Vihari on why he played the attacking shots

Hanuma Vihari looked in command while playing the short ball and he said leaving them would have also hampered Pujara’s natural game. Both of them playing a defensive game in the first Test in Wellington cost India dearly.
Cricket - New Zealand v India - Second Test - Hagley Oval, Christchurch, New Zealand - February 29, 2020 India's Hanuma Vihari celebrates his half century with teammate Cheteshwar Pujara.(REUTERS)
Cricket - New Zealand v India - Second Test - Hagley Oval, Christchurch, New Zealand - February 29, 2020 India's Hanuma Vihari celebrates his half century with teammate Cheteshwar Pujara.(REUTERS)
Updated on Feb 29, 2020 09:54 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

India middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari said he played positively and decided to take the New Zealand pacers on so that Cheteshwar Pujara can play his natural game of grinding the bowling during the first day’s play in the second Test match at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

Vihari looked in command while playing the short ball and he said leaving them would have also hampered Pujara’s natural game. Both of them playing a defensive game in the first Test in Wellington cost India dearly.

“As Pujara was playing at one end and I wanted to take that lead and play positively because he is a player who will play for a lot of time. We know that.

“So I didn’t also want to take time and put pressure on Pujara or on our innings because if you don’t keep the scoreboard moving you will get stuck like in the last game. That’s why I decided to play positively and take them on,” Vihari explained his game plan.

Vihari and Pujara stitched together an important 81-run stand but Vihari was out playing a premeditated hook shot to Neil Wagner when was batting on 55. He regretted getting out at the wrong time as his dismissal at the stroke of tea triggered a collapse in the final session.

“It was a wrong time to get out obviously just before tea as we had a good session. We scored 110 runs and lost only one wicket prior to that. I was batting positively but I played one shot too many.”

For Vihari, going after the short ball was his decision.

“It was a personal decision.” He said.

India were bowled out for 242 after being asked to bat first in the must-win second Test match. Prithvi Shaw, Hanuma Vihari and Cheteshwar Pujara scored half-centuries but none of them managed to carry on and get a big one.

In reply, New Zealand reached stumps at 63 for no loss, pushing India on the backfoot once again.

(With PTI inputs)

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Monday, January 24, 2022