Vihari threatened teammates to sign letter in support of him: report

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari has vowed never to play for Andhra. File photo: AFP/Prakash Singh

New Delhi: Days after Indian batter Hanuma Vihari vowed to never play for Andhra in domestic cricket following political interference in him being forced to leave captaincy, the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) has alleged that the rest of the team were threatened to sign the letter in favour of the right-handed batter.

Following Andhra's four-run loss to Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Monday, Vihari revealed that he had to step down from the captaincy just after the first round not due to personal reasons, but because of political interference.

He also shared a copy of his statement on social media along with another picture of the signatures of his teammates, asking for him to be reinstated as captain. But the ACA, as per a report in India Today, has said that the rest of the cricketers were forced to sign it in favour of Vihari.

"He asked the Andhra Cricket Association to continue on behalf of Andhra, apologising for being emotional and frustrated for not being selected in the Indian team, as he was not given the NOC.

"The parents of the players have brought it to the attention of the association many times that the local players are losing opportunities due to players coming and going of the team. But keeping in mind Vihari's experience, the team management kept him. However, it is unfortunate that Vihari is making false accusations on social media platforms.”

"Hanuma Vihari has alleged that despite all the players in the team supporting him to continue as the captain, he was removed. In this regard, the concerned players have complained to the Andhra Cricket Association against Vihari.

"Some players have complained to the Andhra Cricket Association that they were forced to sign under threats. Andhra Cricket Association will thoroughly investigate all the complaints received and report the facts to the BCCI," said ACA, as per the report.

The report further quoted the ACA saying that Vihari was making a class difference in the Andhra team. "Moreover, players had previously complained to the Andhra Team Managers Association that Vihari used foul language and misbehaved with fellow players during the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament. It was stated that due to the behaviour of Hanuma Vihari, there was a class difference in the team.

"In January 2024, after the first Ranji Trophy match, ACA Senior Selection Committee Chairman, Vasireddy Chandramouli Prasad Chaudhary, sent an e-mail to the Andhra Cricket Association, proposing a new captain following complaints about Vihari's form.

"In response to this, Vihari also sent a mail to Andhra Cricket Association saying that he will abide by the decision taken by the selection committee one hundred per cent. Andhra Cricket Association did not interfere in this matter. The decision making authority is entirely taken by the selection committee.”

"It is very unfortunate that some political parties and their leaders criticise the prestigious Andhra Cricket Association on the basis of Vihari's allegations on social media. ACA politely appeals to those who don't like politics over cricket," ACA said.

Vihari, who last played Tests for India against England at Birmingham in July, 2022, began his domestic cricket career with Hyderabad in 2010 and played for the side until the 2015-16 season. He later returned to play for Hyderabad in the 2021-22 season, before moving back to Andhra next season.

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