No chance for Pujara on West Indies tour (Photo: PTI)
New Delhi: Forgetting the defeat at the hands of Australia in the final of the World Test Championship, Team India is now ready to embark on a new journey. Team squad has been announced for West Indies tour starting from 12th July, with this tour Indian team’s new World Test Championship cycle will also start.
The announcement of the team is giving many indications, in which the selectors have dropped Cheteshwar Pujara, who is considered to be the ‘wall’ in the Test team in the present era. 35-year-old Pujara was going through bad form for a long time, in such a situation there were signs of action on him and now this decision has been taken. However, the question is whether this decision of the selectors is correct or injustice has been done to Pujara.
Also read: What was the reason for Pujara’s flop show in WTC final?
Team India, which suffered defeat in the second consecutive final of the World Test Championship, now wants to make a fresh start. India’s West Indies tour is starting from July 12, where the first two Test matches are to be played. The selectors have dropped senior Cheteshwar Pujara from the Test team, while Mohammed Shami has been rested.
Apart from Shami, Umesh Yadav has also not got a place in this team. Pujara’s exit is a big sign, as young batsmen have been included in his place, which shows that the selectors are now moving the team according to the new cycle of WTC.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s recent record is bad
Cheteshwar Pujara, who took over the responsibility of number 3 in the Test team after Rahul Dravid, is going through a bad phase for the last almost 3 years. The situation is that since 2020, only one century has come out of Pujara’s bat, while his average in the last 28 Tests has also been less than 30. While his career average has also come down to less than 45, whereas once it used to be between 45 and 50.
If you look at the statistics, between January 1, 2020 and June 2023, Cheteshwar Pujara has played 28 Tests, during which he has scored 1455 runs. Pujara’s average is 29.69, while his bat has scored 11 half-centuries and only one century. Pujara was quiet with the bat in the final of the World Test Championship against Australia as well, scoring only 14 and 27 runs in both the innings.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s Test career: 103 Tests, 7195 runs, 43.60 average, 19 centuries, 35 fifties
Why Pujara the target? Kohli is also in bad shape
If Cheteshwar Pujara was removed from the Test team, then many types of questions are bound to arise. Because for the last three years, not only him but the former captain of Team India, Virat Kohli is also struggling with bad form. The amazing thing is that in the meanwhile, Virat Kohli looks behind even Cheteshwar Pujara in terms of figures, but there is no crisis of any kind in his place.
From January 1, 2020 till now, Virat Kohli has played 25 Test matches, in which he has 1277 runs. Meanwhile, 1 century, 6 half-centuries have come out from Virat Kohli’s bat. Kohli’s batting average is 29.69, which means he is behind even Cheteshwar Pujara in terms of runs and average.
Virat in Test average, Rohit ahead of Pujara
However, the performance of captain Rohit Sharma has been much better in this comparison. Since January 1, 2020, till now Rohit Sharma has scored 1296 runs in 18 Tests, his average is 43.20, while 3 centuries, 4 half-centuries have come out of his bat. Rohit’s last century with the bat came against Australia in February this year, when he scored 120 runs in Nagpur.
Test figures since 1 January 2020
Cheteshwar Pujara: 28 Tests, 1455 runs, 29.69 average, 1 century Virat Kohli: 25 Tests, 1277 runs, 29.69 average, 1 century Rohit Sharma: 18 Tests, 1296 runs, 43.20 average, 3 centuries
WTC Final Performance
Cheteshwar Pujara: 14, 27 Virat Kohli: 14, 49 Rohit Sharma: 15, 43
If not Pujara at number three then who?
The selectors included two young batsmen in the squad for the West Indies tour, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rituraj Gaikwad. Apart from domestic cricket, both had recently rained runs in IPL as well, in such a situation, the team is now trying to prepare keeping the future in mind. And there could not have been a better opportunity than to try youngsters in front of a weak Test team like West Indies. Here, by giving Yashasvi a chance at number three, Team India can include a left-handed batsman in their top order.
It is also worth noting that Pujara’s age is 35 years now and when the new cycle of WTC is coming to an end, he will be 37 years old, in such a situation the selectors have already started preparing for the future. It has to be seen how successful this bet is.
Test squad for West Indies tour: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Rituraj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), KS Bharat (wicketkeeper), Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), R.K. Ashwin, Ravindrajdeja, Shardul Thakur, Akshar Patel, Mohammad Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Navdeep Saini.
india west indies test series schedule
First Test: July 12-16 Second Test: July 20-24
Must read this also: When Pujara became the death knell for the bowlers in England