I feel Hanuma Vihari should also be part of the IPL: Cheteshwar Pujara

Vihari failed to get a buyer in the IPL 2021 auction after setting himself a base price of INR 1 crore.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihar
Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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The backbone of India’s batting line-up in the purest format, Cheteshwar Pujara will be again seen playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) as he was picked by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the auction at his base price of INR 50 lakhs. The batsman had last played in the T20 Championship in 2014 for Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings).

Though Pujara is ecstatic for getting a chance to feature in the IPL, he can’t help but feel bad for national teammate Hanuma Vihari, who wasn’t picked by any team during the auction. Just like Pujara, Vihari is also known for his exploits in Test cricket and had last played in the T20 league in 2019 for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). However, since the past two auctions, the 27-year-old has been going unsold.

“Last few years, I’m the only one who has been missing out [on playing in the IPL] from the Indian team. The only guy missing out at this stage is Hanuma Vihari. I feel for him. He was previously part of the IPL. I feel that he should also be part of the IPL,” Pujara said in an interaction with ESPNCricinfo.

Speaking about him getting another chance to feature in the IPL, the 33-year-old reckons that he is really pleased with the development and is happy that finally his contribution to the Indian cricket team is being acknowledged. When Pujara was picked by CSK, all the teams clapped. Remembering the incident, the Indian batsman said that all the franchises know the value he brings to the Indian side.

In Test cricket, there is a lot of pressure; there is a price on your wicket: Cheteshwar Pujara

“I’m really pleased that what I’ve done for the Indian team is noticed and I got results for that. I was told when I was picked, all the franchises clapped [in the auction room]. I feel that when you are doing something for the Indian team, people love it. They know the value I bring in. Not just the franchises, almost all my [India] team-mates were really happy for me,” the batsman added.

Further in the interaction, the Rajkot-born opined that it is easier to play white-ball cricket than the red-ball format as in Tests there is a huge price on one’s wicket and one needs to tackle a lot of pressure. “I definitely think so (on whether it is easier for someone who can tackle red-ball cricket to perform in white-ball cricket), especially the way the white ball travels.

“It is just about making the mental change. I feel that mentally if you are ready to make some adjustments, you don’t need to take a lot of pressure. In Test cricket, there is a lot of pressure; there is a price on your wicket. But in the shorter format, you just need to express yourself and play all the shots you can,” Pujara signed off. 

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