Harbhajan Singh Backs Cheteshwar Pujara In Tests: Following India’s disappointing performance in the ICC World Test Championship final, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made a surprising move. Cheteshwar Pujara, the seasoned Indian cricketer, was dropped from the team for the West Indies tour. This decision came in the wake of India’s second consecutive failure to secure the Championship title.
In the final match, several Indian batsmen failed to make a significant contribution, which led to Australia clinching the title. Among them was Pujara, who was the only high-profile player to face the axe in the aftermath. Following this, he returned to domestic cricket, where he shone in the Duleep Trophy by hitting a century.
Interestingly, this is not the first time Pujara has found himself sidelined. After the South Africa tour in 2021-22, which ended in a 1-2 defeat for India, Pujara was dropped from the Test squad.
The BCCI selectors have made their intention clear – they are focusing on a “transition”, giving young players a chance to shine as they start building the team for the future. However, this decision has drawn criticism from cricket legend Harbhajan Singh, who believes Pujara’s contributions have been underappreciated.
Harbhajan expressed his views in an interview with PTI, where he said, “I have a lot of respect for Cheteshwar Pujara for what he has achieved. He has been one of those pillars of strength for India, doing the dirty work of hanging in there, making sure other batters got their comfort.”
He also argued that the way Pujara was dismissed from the team was a surprise, especially considering other players with similar averages were not dropped. According to Harbhajan, the Indian team needs someone who can play Test cricket the traditional way, particularly in challenging conditions.
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Harbhajan also addressed the often-criticised issue of Pujara’s strike-rate. He said, “In case of Pujara, we keep hearing about his strike-rate of scoring runs in Tests but because of that strike-rate, the wickets remain intact and that’s a huge contribution.”
Furthermore, Harbhajan highlighted the importance of having a player like Pujara when playing abroad, especially in the SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia) countries. He said, “When you go abroad, you need one such batter as you can’t have everyone playing strokes all the time. You need someone who plays normal Test cricket, just like Cheteshwar Pujara.”
In conclusion, Pujara’s exclusion from the Indian team continues to stir debate among fans and experts alike. The opinions may be divided, but there’s no denying that the seasoned cricketer’s contributions to the Indian cricket team have been significant. It remains to be seen whether the team’s transitional phase will yield the desired results in the future.