(Left) Hanuma Vihari batting despite an injured wrist; (Right) Ravichandran Ashwin. Pics: BCCI & Getty Images

Ravichandran Ashwin hails Hanuma Vihari’s resilience: “If 4 crore people watch IPL, hardly 4 people will watch Ranji Trophy live”

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin hailed Andhra skipper Hanuma Vihari for showing great determination and batting despite an injury during the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 quarter-final against Madhya Pradesh. Ashwin added that "fighter" Vihari’s brave act in a domestic match, with hardly anyone watching, is a great example of unwavering dedication to the sport.

Right-hander Vihari batted left-handed in both innings, with his left hand cast in a bandage. The 29-year-old was struck on the left wrist while batting in the first innings. He left the field and scans revealed showed a fracture. Vihari, however, came out to bat at No. 11 and added 26 runs for the 10th wicket. He came out to bat at No. 11 in Andhra’s second essay as well.


Praising Vihari for his resilience, Ashwin said while speaking on his YouTube channel:

“The size of the dog doesn’t matter in cricket. It’s the size of the fight that matters. I have firmly believed in this concept in any form of cricket or in any form of life as well. In this situation, the size of the fight is very important and Hanuma Vihari has proved it to us once again. He hasn’t said it with his words. He has proved it with his actions."
Had a wrist injury so batted left handed and with one hand.
Grit of the highest order. Take a bow #HanumaVihari

Describing Vihari as a torch-bearer for Andhra cricket, Ashwin praised the batter for guiding the state in the forward direction, despite facing a number of challenges. The 36-year-old elaborated:

“We talk about Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni mainly when it comes to Indian cricket. Most people like attention and like to be the centrestage. Don’t get me wrong, that is also an extraordinary skill. However, these IPL games are watched by millions of people. It’s a stage for many aspiring cricketers to perform.
“When it comes to the Ranji Trophy, if 4 crore people watch IPL, hardly 4 people will watch Ranji Trophy live. And maybe 400 others might follow it. He has faced so many problems in Andhra and in fact, he even tweeted about it. See, Andhra is not known for winning a lot. They have done decently and have qualified a few times since Hanuma Vihari took over.”

Despite his brave act, Vihari could not prevent Andhra from being knocked out of the Ranji Trophy. Madhya Pradesh qualified for the semi-final, winning the contest by five wickets.

“What he did has to be appreciated” - Ravichandran Ashwin on how Vihari’s example can make a difference

While Andhra may have failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy 2022-23, Ashwin reckons that Vihari’s fighting spirit might rub off on some youngsters from the state.


Concluding his thoughts on the defiant 29-year-old cricketer, Ashwin said:

“It’s not about the shot he played or the way he played it. But his sheer fight - ‘I will fight for my team’. Hats off, Hanuma Vihari. What he did has to be appreciated. If more cricketers start doing this, we will get more players coming from the grassroots. 10 people will start playing cricket from that state and that will change the cricket structure in that state.”
Do it for the team. Do it for the bunch.
Never give up!!
Thank you everyone for your wishes. Means a lot!!

Incidentally, Vihari and Ashwin batted with injuries for more than 40 overs to help India draw the Sydney Test against Australia during their 2020-21 tour Down Under.

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Edited by
Renin Wilben Albert
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