"Rare exhibition of courage and dedication" - MP head coach Chandrakant Pandit bows down to Hanuma Vihari
Madhya Pradesh (MP) head coach Chandrakant Pandit bowed to Andhra batter Hanuma Vihari's grit and determination. Vihari shocked the world with his sheer courage during the recent Ranji Trophy quarter-final clash between Andhra and Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar Stadium in Indore.
The right-handed batter batted left-handed and with only one hand after fracturing his left forearm off an Avesh Khan delivery while he was batting on 16. While many thought Vihari would be ruled out of the game, he came out to bat after the fall of the ninth wicket, risking another injury.
The incident caught everyone's attention, including Pandit, who kept a close tab on the proceedings from the dressing room.
"That is a rare exhibition of courage and dedication," he told Cricbuzz after the game. "These kinds of acts for your side and rising to the demands of the team's situation are unforgettable and hats off to Hanuma. He is a role model for the youngsters in our country."
Vihari's heroics might have gone in vain but he stole the show despite Madhya Pradesh's epic come-from-behind victory in Indore.
Incidentally, this is not the first time the middle-order batter has shown his commitment to the team's cause. He batted with a hamstring injury to save a Test match for India at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) against Australia in 2021 alongside Ravichandran Ashwin.
"I really admire him now" - Chandrakant Pandit on Hanuma Vihari
Pandit, who recently joined Indian Premier League (IPL) outfit Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as the head coach, personally met the injured cricketer to laud his determination and courage after the game.
"I did not mince any words to him and congratulated him on his brave display of courage and said 'hats off to you'. I really admire him now," Pandit added.
The 61-year-old, who has witnessed several acts of bravery on the cricket field during his professional career, added that what Hanuma Vihari showed in both innings of the match stands out among all.
"I mentioned to my boys that Gaurav Yadav bowled with a swollen knee (in the same match)," he continued. "Gaurav did a similar act in the final of the Ranji Trophy last year too when he had a head injury. I remember Sunil Gavaskar batting for the Mumbai side left-handed against Karnataka in a Ranji game on a rank turner.
"I can also recall Dilip Vengsarkar playing with an injured chest. He had many bruises on his chest and still went on to play in a Ranji game. I myself played once against Rajasthan with a fractured finger. Those days, physios were not instantly available for us. I have seen Malcolm Marshall bat with an injured hand on TV against England and in the same way I remember Anil Kumble doing that against the West Indies with his jaw in bandage," Pandit recalled.
"That said, for me the Hanuma show stands out among all other instances I have mentioned," he added. "Just think of him batting left-handed with one hand broken and facing the pace of Avesh Khan. He was ready to risk another injury to his second hand but kept the team's interest above him. Outstanding."
Meanwhile, defending champion Madhya Pradesh will now lock horns with Bengal in the Ranji Trophy semi-finals at the Holkar Stadium, starting on Wednesday, February 8.
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