Former India cricketer Pragyan Ojha feels Test-specialist Hanuma Vihar has to perform consistently well to survive in Team India. Vihari is part of India’s Test set-up for the past couple of years and played some crucial knocks for the team. The upcoming Test series against Australia will be a huge opportunity for Vihari to cement his place as a valuable player. The 27-year-old, recently, impressed everyone in the 2nd Practice Match with a brilliant knock of 104*.

Ojha said being a Test specialist, Hanuma will have both advantages and disadvantages in his career.

“Hanuma Vihari, this boy doesn’t feature in IPL, doesn’t feature in limited-overs for the national side. Being a Test specialist at the starting point of his career, it has both advantages and disadvantages,” Pragyan Ojha told Sports Today.

“If you perform in Test cricket, especially abroad you earn respect. But on the flip side, your name is not circulating in that zone, a lot of people keep discussing the likes of Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav because they are performing on a platform where a lot of people are watching. It’s the truth,” he added.

Ojha said the upcoming Test series is going to be very crucial for Vihari especially in the absence of Virat Kohli after the first Test. Vihari is expected to bat higher in order when Kohli departs for India.

“I feel this series is very important for Vihari. India will not have Virat Kohli, those are big shoes to be filled. Vihari got a brilliant hundred (pink-ball warm-up). But it is not going to be easy, especially in the pink-ball Test. He has to perform consistently well to survive there.

The veteran spinner compared Vihari’s situation to India’s batting great VVS Laxman’s.

“He is someone like VVS Laxman, I would say. Every game Laxman played was a very important game for himself because he was a Test specialist. He has to consistently perform to be in the reckoning because he is not a regular in the limited-overs format. It’s become important for him to deliver in every game he plays.

“At home conditions, it becomes difficult for him to play because India play an extra spinner. And if Hardik Pandya starts bowling, he straightaway walks in.

Ojha feels if the team doesn’t do well then Vihari will be the first one on line to face the consequences of it.

“It’s a very thankless job. A young boy like Hanuma Vihari, if he is getting runs he will be picked, but if he doesn’t get runs or the team doesn’t do well, the first one who will be on the line will be Hanuma Vihari,” Ojha signed off.