Gavaskar defends ‘faithful servant’ Pujara: ‘Why make him a scapegoat for our failed at bats?’

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Pujara is the only batsman to be omitted for the upcoming Test series against the West Indies, from the core group that played in that final. As the new WTC cycle begins with the two-test tour of the Caribbean in July, the selection panel, tentatively led by SS Das, has chosen Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad to the 17-man squad. This means that India may have a new number 3 in the West Indies unless Shubman Gill drops one position.

“Why was he dropped? Why was he made a scapegoat for our failed bats? He has been a loyal servant of Indian cricket,” Gavaskar said. India Today. “But since he doesn’t have millions of followers on platforms that will make a noise when he gets dropped, you drop him. That is beyond my understanding. What are the criteria to drop him and keep the others that failed? I don’t know because nowadays there is no media interaction with the chairman of the selection committee, where you could ask these questions.”

Pujara achieved scores of 14 and 27 at The Oval. Overall, in the 2021-2023 WTC cycle, he was India’s second-highest series scorer with 928 runs in 32 innings at an average of 32 with a century and six half-centuries. In comparison, Virat Kohli did only marginally better – 932 runs in 30 innings was 32.13, with a century and three half centuries.

Gavaskar believes Pujara can still offer a few years to Indian cricket, but the road back to the team could be a long one, especially if India’s injured regulars Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer return. For the time being, Ajinkya Rahane, India’s top scorer in the WTC final, has been appointed vice-captain to Rohit Sharma.

“He’s played country cricket. So he’s played a lot of red-ball cricket, so he knows what it’s about,” said Gavaskar when asked if Pujara can make a comeback. “Nowadays people can play until they are 39-40. There’s nothing to worry about, they’re all very fit; as long as you’re making runs and taking wickets I don’t think age should be a factor. Obviously just one man that has been picked while the others who failed to be the batsman failed Apart from (Ajinkya) Rahane the batting failed completely Why Pujara has been made the trap the explain selectors.”

Gavaskar doubted the performance of the Ranji Trophy, especially after the exclusion of Sarfaraz Khan. The 25-year-old has scored mountains over the past three seasons. His first-class average is second only to Don Bradman, among batters who have played at least 50 innings; he averages 79.65, with 13 hundred and nine half centuries. However, he had a modest IPL and was not a regular starter for the Delhi Capitals, leading Gavaskar to question whether the IPL was in the way of his selection.

“You do well in the IPL and you even get picked in Test cricket. That seems to be the situation,” Gavaskar complained. “Even if you look at the team’s roster, you have four lead-off hitters for two test games. It’s not the old fast-paced West Indies attack where you needed six lead-off hitters.

“Sarfaraz Khan has scored with an average of 100 in the last three seasons. What does he have to do to be chosen in the squad? He may not be in the XI, but you choose him in the team. Tell him that his achievements will be recognised. Otherwise, stop playing Ranji Trophy Suppose there’s no point, you just play IPL and think you’re good enough for the red ball game too.”



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