AUS v IND 2020-21: "Bat for 6 balls, take break for next 6"- Hanuma Vihari's masterplan to play with hamstring tear

Hanuma Vihari batted for almost 4 hours with a Grade 2 hamstring tear in SCG Test to earn a draw.

Hanuma Vihari's right thigh getting taped | Getty

The recently concluded India's tour to Australia was a tale to tell for the cricketers that became heroes in a span of 3 Test matches post the Adelaide debacle. Ajinkya Rahane's century in Melbourne, Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin's defiance in Sydney and the debutants' heroics in Brisbane ensured Team India rose from 0-1 down to win the series 2-1.

While the Test wins will be spoken of a lot more, let's not forget that Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin battled their injuries and played out more than a session on the final day of the third Test in Sydney.

While Ashwin could not bend or lie down due to a stiff back, yet batted against a potent Australian attack, Vihari tore his hamstring just minutes into his innings and yet reminaed not out for 4 hours.

It was later found out that Vihari had suffered a grade 2 tear in his hamstring and he withstood that pain for that long a period is still unthinkable. He scored 23 runs and faced 161 deliveries to see to it that the opposition doesn't get the tiniest of chances to get a breakthrough.

Hanuma Vihari told Sports Today, "So, when I went into bat, Pujara was batting well and we went for a quick single. Everybody saw that I snapped my hamstring but I knew immediately, I couldn’t run. I told the physio ‘see I don’t think it’s a spasm or a cramp’. I could feel the hamstring core. So, he said ‘okay, I will stretch you a little and give you a tablet and you see how it goes’."

AUS v IND 2020-21: WATCH- "Ashwin guided me like an elder brother," says Hanuma Vihari

"Then I took a tablet and faced the first ball against Nathan Lyon, I was in pain. I told Pujara ‘see I don’t think I can run or I don’t feel like I can bat as well’. He said ‘just hang around and see how you feel in the next couple of balls’."

"So I played that over and called the physio again. I said ‘I don’t think I can run or maybe bat, I didn’t believe I could do it’. He said he would tape it around and asked me see I could do it.

Unfortunately in the next two overs, Pujara got out. So I had no choice left because next was Ash (Ashwin) coming and Jadeja was injured," he added.

The 27-year-old continued saying, "I told myself that I have 20 minutes to Tea and I will just bat it out and then see what happens. Then I did that, I went into the dressing room. They gave me a pain-killer injection. 

Then a few of the support staff came and told me ‘you owe the team for the belief they have shown in you’. Obviously, in the first 2 games, I didn’t do anything big. But it was time for me to give it back to the team in some sorts."

AUS v IND 2020-21: WATCH – R Ashwin, Hanuma Vihari reflect on their marathon vigil on Day 5 at SCG

While Vihari had taken a few painkillers and an injection, he still could not stretch forward to defend Nathan Lyon off the front foot. Therefore, R Ashwin came to his rescue and played out the spinner as Vihari took on the pacers.

Vihari said, "I had clarity. Even Ash helped me. He said that would take it 1 over at a time. ‘Let’s take it as deep as possible and see where it goes’. Pain was there when I was batting but my only goal was to bat 6 balls and take a break for 6 balls. 

I told Ash that I was not able to stretch out for Nathan Lyon. I told him ‘you play Nathan Lyon, then I will play the fast bowlers’. I was batting 6 balls, he was really composed and he was able to see off Lyon."

"We took it one over at a time and we made the impossible possible, I guess. That’s how I batted through pain for 4 hours," he concluded.

(With inputs from India Today)


By Sameer Deodhar - 21 Jan, 2021

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