Andhra Cricket Association initiates inquiry against Hanuma Vihari

PTI, Feb 27, 2024, 9:14 AM IST

The bitter spat between Hanuma Vihari and Andhra Cricket Association took a fresh turn as the state body on Monday announced an inquiry against the senior batter, who had accused the ACA of forcing him to resign from captaincy at the start of the ongoing season. (More Cricket News)

The drama unfolded after Andhra’s campaign in the Ranji Trophy ended in a defeat on Monday as Vihari announced that he would never play for the side due to “mistreatment” by the state association.

“Complaints were received from teammates, support staff and ACA administrators about Vihari’s use of foul language and abusive behavior. ACA will conduct a thorough inquiry into all complaints and the due course of action will be communicated,” said the ACA in a media release.

Vihari had also hit out at a reserve 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.

ACA stated that it had received a complaint from the junior player about Vihari at that time.

“It has come to our attention that Mr Vihari personally verbally abused a specific player during the Bengal Ranji game in front of everyone. The affected player filed an official complaint with the ACA,” the release said.

Vihari had shared a 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).”

“The 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.

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.

“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.

But the ACA said the decision to appoint a new captain was taken given Vihari’s possible non-availability because of him being an India prospect.

Later 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… Mr so-called Champion. Play this sympathy game however you want,” wrote Prudhvi.

Vihari has also 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 when he played through an injury.

“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 knockouts 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.

The ACA said it was Vihari who reversed the decision and decided to stay on with the Andhra team.

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