After the recent defeat in the WTC finals, the selectors and team management planned to start the transition one seat at a time as they wanted to avoid a scenario where all experienced batsmen would be forced to make room, as happened after Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar left in 2012-13.
The changes began with Pujara, who has struggled for permanence in the national team. Although the 35-year-old 102-test veteran has been scoring heavily in the county since the 2022 season, he has failed to replicate that form for the Indian national team.
Former India national team opener Sunil Gavaskar was unhappy with the decision and said: Except for (Ajinka) Rahane, the batting has completely failed. Why Pujara became a reserve player, the selectors have to explain, Gavaskar said: But since he doesn’t have millions of subscribers on platforms that would make a fuss if he is excluded, you exclude him. This is something beyond comprehension.
Pujara scored 928 runs in the 2021-23 WTC cycle with an average of 32. Meanwhile, star batter Virat Kohli also performed nearly as well, scoring 932 runs for an average of 32.13 over the same period.
Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also shared similar sentiments, saying, Cheteshwar Pujara is gone, which makes me worried. He was an important player for India. I hope they give him a rest and don’t throw him out. Pujara is the backbone of this team. If you’re putting him down, then the averages of the other batters aren’t very good either. The benchmarks should be the same for all players, no matter how big a player you are.
If you don’t think Pujara is a key player…by that logic, others aren’t key players either. There should be no question about his career. India won the series in Australia and led in England, and wherever India played well, he contributed effectively. In the last 1-1.5 years he hasn’t played very consistently…but then look at the other batters as well. Almost the same stats. So singling him out is wrong, he added.
This is not the first time Pujara has been dropped from the Indian squad. He was eliminated from the series against Sri Lanka in 2022. After impressing around him, he was called back into the team against England the same year.
Pujara has always produced strong wins.have recovered from past failures and hope to have a fruitful Dulip Trophy season, whusual to get back into the fight again.