As the BCCI announced the Indian squads for the tour of West Indies earlier in the day, Cheteshwar Pujara was the notable omission from the squad apart from Umesh Yadav.
After the embarrassment of losing another World Test Championship final, this time to Australia, the Indian selectors are finally signalling a shift towards the heralding of a new era. It was in the works for a while that some major changes are in the offing but Pujara's exclusion gets us thinking.
Big 3 failing
When we tried to delve a little into the statistics of the 'Big Three' in Indian batting and their contributions to the national team in the 2021-2023 World Test Championship cycle, we found something very interesting.
With 1292 runs in 44 innings and 24 Tests, Pujara has scored a hundred and 10 fifties. Although, it's way below the high standards he has set for himself, the Saurashtra man has been workmanlike in his approach.
Virat Kohli, who played 38 innings in 22 Tests, has accumulated 1161 runs with one hundred and five fifties. Skipper Rohit Sharma has featured in 18 Tests in the same period and played 32 innings for his 1296 runs with three hundreds and four fifties.
PUJARA, THE EASY SCAPEGOAT?
Looking at the numbers, there is very little to distinguish between the three except for the fact that Pujara has played more innings (44) in comparison to Kohli (38) and Rohit (32)
Pujara has been that rock that has taken on the paciest of bowlers and thwarted their plans thereby making it easier for the batsmen that follow. He has been a tireless servant of Indian cricket and Test cricket, especially over the years.
There are probably different sets of rules for different players based on their brand value, or whatever you want to call it in the overall scheme of things. If the selectors are going in with transitions, then why drop the likes of Pujara on a selective basis, and why not the others if grooming the Test team for the next WTC cycle is the objective.
The selectors going ahead will have some very tough decisions to make, and Pujara's is probably the easiest among those.
2021-2023 World Test Championship cycle:
Virat Kohli: 1161 runs in 38 innings (22 Tests) 100s: 1, 50s: 5
Rohit Sharma: 1296 runs in 32 innings (18 Tests) 100s: 1, 50s: 4
Cheteshwar Pujara: 1292 in 44 innings (24 Tests) 100s: 1, 50s: 10