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Why was Hanuma Vihari preferred over Shreyas Iyer as Virat Kohli’s replacement?

India won the toss and elected to bat first against South Africa in the second Test.

Ritesh Pathak Author

Updated - 3 January 2022 2:41 pm

Highlights
  • Hanuma Vihari was roped in as Kohli's replacement in the playing XI.
  • BCCI has now revealed why Shreyas Iyer was not considered for selection.

The second Test between India and South Africa began with a shocker for the Indian fans as KL Rahul walked out for the toss rather than India’s regular Test skipper, Virat Kohli. It was later revealed by Rahul himself that Kohli has an upper back spasm and is undergoing treatment, therefore could not take part in the second Test. However, Kohli’s omission was followed by another strange decision from the team management.

With Virat Kohli unavailable, Hanuma Vihari was roped in as his replacement in the playing XI with the likes of Shreyas Iyer available in the dugout. It could have only made sense if Iyer was unavailable for selection but there was no word from the stand-in skipper about the same. However, the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) ended all the speculations with a release revealing the reason behind Hanuma Viahri’s preference over Shreyas Iyer in the playing XI. The release said that Iyer has also been ruled out of selection with a stomach bug.

“Team India batsman Shreyas Iyer was also ruled out of selection for the 2nd Test owing to a stomach bug,” read the statement from BCCI.

India make only one change in playing XI

India won the toss and elected to bat first against South Africa in the second Test. KL Rahul, the stand-in skipper, revealed that the team management has made only one forced change in the playing XI. This meant that Chetweshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have once again been given a chance to prove their worth and the duo will be keen to do so in the absence of Virat Kohli. Both the batters have struggled to get going in the past few games and also in the first Test.

While Pujara went for a golden duck in the first innings, Rahane perished to Ngidi after showing some promise. The second innings scores for Pujara and Rahane read 16 and 20, respectively. But coach Rahul Dravid has backed the players by giving them a chance and will expect them to make the most of it.

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