Gautam Gambhir, former World Cup-winning
Indian batter, said Hanuma Vihari, who batted at No. 5 in the second Test at
Johannesburg, deserves more chances and backing from the team management.

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Vihari played a crucial knock as he
remained unbeaten on 40 and put important stands with tailenders as India set
240 runs target for South Africa. Though South Africa won the match, Vihari has
grabbed the limelight for playing a gritty innings.

As Kohli is now set to return to the third
Test in Cape Town, starting January 11, former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir
insisted that it would be “unfair” on Vihari if he misses out on a spot in the

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Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have
been out of form for a while. Though they scored half-centuries, they both got
out after completing their half-centuries. The Indian senior duo forged a
111-run partnership for the third wicket as India scored 266 in the second
innings and set 240 runs target for South Africa, who defeated India by seven

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Gambhir said that Vihari hasn’t been given
many chances to prove himself in the longest format of the game and deserves a
similar backing to Rahane, who has been going through a rough patch for almost
a year.

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“It would be very unfortunate if he doesn’t
play the next Test. If Rahane has scored a fifty, even Hanuma Vihari remained
unbeaten on 40. If Vihari had batted in Rahane’s position (in second innings),
he might have scored a fifty as well. He has played with control in both
innings,” Gambhir said on Star Sports.

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“You would want to give a long rope to such
a batter. You don’t just play him in one game, then keep him out for the rest
of the year. It is very unfair. We’ve seen Rahane’s performances for a long
time now. So, I think that when Virat Kohli comes back in the next Test, he
should bat at number 4 with Hanuma Vihari at 5. Going forward, I think it’s a
right move in the right direction.”

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Gambhir said that Vihari was “solid” in
both innings and deserves a place in the XI in the Cape Town Test. “If the team
management has backed Rahane so much, it is time for them to put their faith in
Hanuma Vihari as well, because he has looked solid in both, the first as well
as the second innings,” said the former India opener.