'I will never play for Andhra' - Star Andhra Pradesh batter Hanuma Vihari lashes out at ASCA for politicizing cricket, teammate terms it 'sympathy game'

Seasoned Andhra Pradesh cricketer Hanuma Vihari has voiced his discontent with the Andhra State Cricket Association (ASCA). It came after Andhra's disheartening exit from the Ranji Trophy.

Mathew K
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Hanuma Vihari

Hanuma Vihari (Source: Twitter)

Seasoned Andhra Pradesh cricketer Hanuma Vihari has voiced his discontent with the Andhra State Cricket Association (ASCA). It came after Andhra's disheartening exit from the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals against Madhya Pradesh. The 30-year-old, who relinquished captaincy after the opening league game, accused the ASCA of removing him from the leadership role following an incident with a teammate.

In an Instagram post, Vihari revealed that he had shouted at the 17th player during the opening game against Bengal. The player, backed by his influential politician father, filed a complaint with the association. Vihari accused it of leading to his abrupt removal from captaincy despite the team's successful chase of 410 against Bengal.

“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 the captaincy without any fault of mine,” Vihari wrote on Instagram shortly after the defeat.

“I felt embarrassed,"  says Hanuma Vihari

Hanuma Vihari further criticised the ASCA for prioritising the complainant over a player who had consistently performed for the team. He expressed feeling embarrassed but continued playing out of respect for the game and his team. However, he declared his decision to never play for Andhra again, emphasising the lack of respect for players and the association's hindrance to the team's growth.

“I never said anything on a personal note to the player, but the association thought that player was more important than the guy who put his body on the line last year and batted left-handed, took Andhra to knockouts five times in the last seven 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,” Vihari added.

“The sad part is that the association thinks that players have to listen to whatever they say, and players are there because of them. 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,” he concluded.

Hanuma Vihari wanted to play for Madhya Pradesh!

This episode unfolded in the backdrop of Vihari's desire to move to Madhya Pradesh for the 2023–24 season, a request denied by the ASCA. Despite the association's refusal, Vihari stayed on as captain for another season. While Vihari did not disclose the player's name, wicket-keeper batter KN Prudhviraj, assumed to be the 17th player, responded on social media.

He said, "Hello everyone, I am that guy. You guys are searching in that comment box. Whatever you guys heard is false; no one is higher than the game, and my self-respect is much bigger than anything. Personal attacks and vulgar language are unacceptable on any kind of human platform. Everyone in the team knows what happened that day. These words are enough for people to understand the so-called champion. Play these sympathy games however you want."

Hanuma Vihari Featured Andhra Pradesh Ranji Trophy