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India vs West Indies: Vihari Looks Like he Belongs in Test Cricket — VVS Laxman

India headed into the first Test against the West Indies in Antigua last week with six specialist batsmen and four bowlers. It was a toss up between Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari with the latter getting the nod for his ability to bowl off-spin as well. Former India and Hyderabad batsman VVS Laxman was impressed by Vihari’s approach and feels like the youngster belongs at the Test level.

Cricketnext Staff |August 28, 2019, 11:06 AM IST
India's Hanuma Vihari. (Pic: AP)

India headed into the first Test against the West Indies in Antigua last week with six specialist batsmen and four bowlers. It was a toss up between Rohit Sharma and Hanuma Vihari with the latter getting the nod for his ability to bowl off-spin as well.

Vihari impressed with his performance with the willow in both innings, notching up 32 and 93 as India powered to a 318-run win on Sunday (August 25). Former India and Hyderabad batsman VVS Laxman was impressed by Vihari’s approach and feels like the youngster belongs at the Test level.

"I was impressed with the way Hanuma Vihari approached his task. He batted freely without taking undue risks, and has looked like he belongs in Test cricket from the time he made his debut in England last year,” Laxman wrote in his column in TOI.

“By contrast, KL Rahul will be extremely disappointed with himself for having done all the hard work in both innings and then getting himself out,” he added.

Laxman was also impressed by Ajinkya Rahane’s knocks of 81 and 103 after Cheteshwar Pujara failed to fire in both the innings.

“It’s never easy when you are playing only one format of the game internationally, as was evident from Cheteshwar Pujara’s travails. That alone puts Ajinkya Rahane’s twin efforts with the bat in perspective,” Laxman wrote about the pressures of playing in only one format of the game.

“He must have felt some pressure after not having scored a Test hundred in more than two years. Even though he had the backing of the selectors and the team management, the vice-captain would have been desperate to leave his mark, and his reaction upon reaching three figures on Sunday showed just how much this century meant to him,” Laxman added about Rahane.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor was surprised by the meekness with which Jason Holder’s side capitulated in the opening Test which is also part of ICC World Test Championship.

“India were overwhelming favorites heading into the first Test in Antigua, but even they must have been taken aback by the meekness with which West Indies capitulated on the fourth evening to hand them their biggest win on overseas soil.

“Few would have bargained for the one-sidedness of the contest after India lost three wickets for next to nothing on Day One, but playing like the No. 1 Test side in the world, Virat Kohli’s men hit back with a vengeance,” Laxman felt.

The 44-year-old was also impressed by the display of India’s pace bowling attack led by Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.

“India’s fast bowlers once again put on a show. Ishant was excellent throughout the game and Mohammed Shami troubled all batsmen, but the one who stood out was Jasprit Bumrah.

In the past, the predominantly inswing bowler occasionally got the ball to straighten. It is a tribute to the work he has put in in the nets that now, he is able to take the ball away from the right-hander at will. His relentless attack of the stumps in the West Indies second innings was breathtakingly impactful,” Laxman said about Bumrah.

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