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Hanuma Vihari vows not to play for Andhra again

The right-hander has cited political influence as the reason for his removal from the captaincy midway through the Ranji Trophy season
Last Updated 26 February 2024, 10:32 IST

Bengaluru: Drama unfolded after Andhra's campaign in the Ranji Trophy ended in defeat on Monday with senior batter Hanuma Vihari saying he will never play for the side due to "mistreatment" by the state association, and that he was asked to resign rather than him stepping down as skipper after the first game of the season.

Vihari also hit out at a team-mate (son of a politician) who he alleged had asked his father to take action against him after the veteran player shouted at him during a match. Vihari also shared the copy of his statement on his X account signed by other players in the Andhra team with a one-line comment -- "the whole team knows (what had happened on that day)."

Andhra's campaign in the on-going Ranji season came to an end when they lost to Madhya Pradesh by four runs in the quarterfinals at Indore.

"Sad part is the association thinks that players have to listen to whatever they say and players are there because of them (association). I've decided that I'll never play for Andhra where I lost my self-respect.

"I love the team. I love the way we're growing every season but the association doesn't want us to grow," Vihari wrote on Instagram.

The middle-order batter, who has played 16 Tests for India, started the season as Andhra captain but stepped down after the first match against last year’s runners-up Bengal.

Ricky Bhui led the team for the rest of the season, and he now leads the season's run chart with 902 runs.

At the time, Vihari attributed his decision to move away from leadership role due to "personal reasons" but now the right-handed batter said the association had asked him to resign.

"I was the captain in the first game against Bengal, during that game I shouted at the 17th player and he complained to his dad (who is a politician), his dad in return asked the association to take action against me. Although we chased 410 against last year's finalists Bengal, I was asked to resign from captaincy without any fault of mine. I never said anything on a personal note to the player," said Vihari.

However, the player in question, KN Prudhvi Raj, took to Instagram and accused Vihari of making false claims.

"Hello everyone! I'm that guy, you guys are searching in the comment box, whatever you guys heard is absolutely false, no one is higher than the game and my self-respect is much bigger than anything.

"Personal attacks and vulgar language are unacceptable in any kind of human platform. Everyone in the team knows what happened that day. Nuvu inthaku minchi emmi pikkulevu (You can't get any better than this) Mr so called champion. Play this sympathy game however you want," wrote Prudhvi Raj.

However, Vihari later shared the copy of his statement on his X account which was signed by other players in the Andhra team with a one-line comment -- "the whole team knows."

However, the 30-year-old expressed grouse that the association did not value his sacrifices for the team over the years, recalling last year's Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match against Madhya Pradesh.

A forearm injury to his right-hand had forced him to bat left-handed in that game, but he could not prevent Andhra's ouster.

"The association thought that player was more important than the guy who gave his body on the line last year and batted left-handed, took Andhra to knock outs 5 times in the last 7 years and played for India in 16 Tests.

"I felt embarrassed but the only reason I continued playing this season was because I respect the game and my team," he added.

Ahead of the 2023-2024 domestic season, Vihari was also linked with a switch to Madhya Pradesh but he decided to stay on with Andhra after the deal failed to get a final shape.

Vihari had started his career with Hyderabad, and then moved to Andhra during the 2015-16 season. He had returned to Hyderabad for the 2021-2022 season before rejoining Andhra in the 2022-23 season.

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(Published 26 February 2024, 10:32 IST)

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