Political interference forced me to leave Andhra captaincy: Hanuma Vihari

Written by Sumit Seth

Hanuma Vihari has decided to “never play for Andhra” again, saying the treatment he received at the hands of the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) over the years has left him “humiliated”.

He made his revelation not long after Andhra’s dreams of progressing to the Ranji Trophy semi-final for the first time came to a heartbreaking end as they lost to Madhya Pradesh by four runs in Indore. Vihari had led Andhra’s chase of 170 with a fighting 55, the top score in their second innings. He ended the Ranji season with 522 runs in 13 innings, the second-highest for Andhra after Ricky Bhui’s tally of 902.

In an Instagram post, Vihari alleged that he was forced to step down as captain following Andhra’s opening round fixture against Bengal in January. At the time, he had cited personal reasons for the decision, but said on Saturday that the truth was that the association had taken “action” against him because of political interference.

“I was captain in the first game against Bengal, and during the game, I shouted at 17th player, and he complained to his dad (who is a politician),” Vihari wrote. “His dad in return asked the association to take action against me. Although we chased 410 against last year’s finalists Bengal [for a first-innings lead], I was asked to resign from captaincy without any fault of mine.

Vihari said he had been “humiliated and embarrassed” in the aftermath of the episode, but carried on playing under Bhui as Andhra secured the second spot in Group B with three outright victories in seven matches.

“I felt embarrassed but the only reason I continued playing this season is because I respect the game and my team,” he said. “Sad part is association thinks that players have to listen to whatever they say, and players are there because of them. I felt humiliated and embarrassed, but I’ve not expressed it until today.”

About the author

Sumit Seth