Renowned cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle has opened up on Cheteshwar Pujara's shocking exclusion from the upcoming West Indies tour. Bhogle stated that he won't write off the Saurashtra batter yet as Ajinkya Rahane made a strong comeback to the Test arena in the recent World Test Championship final against Australia.
BCCI announced the 17-man Test squad on Friday that saw Pujara dropped after an underwhelming show in the WTC final against Australia that saw India suffer a 209-run defeat. The right-hander came on the back of a strong County Championship stint with Sussex; however, he managed scores of 14 and 27 in the marquee final.
Hence, the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad have been given an opportunity, keeping in mind the next WTC cycle. Meanwhile, Harsha Bhogle took to Twitter and mentioned how Pujara played an instrumental role in the twin series victories in Australia.
"It has been fabulous career, he was at the heart of the two great series wins in Australia in 2018/21, but I'm not writing a Pujara obit yet. We almost wrote one for Rahane and he was India's best batter in the WTC final. And is now the vice-captain. But yes, the Pujara decision means the lens will be on an under-performing batting side."
Cheteshwar Pujara mustered 521 runs in four Tests during the 2018-19 series in Australia:
Pujara, who made his Test debut in 2010 against Australia in Bengaluru, weathered the storm of Australia's strong bowling unit twice to propel India to memorable series wins. The veteran struck 521 runs in four Tests in the 2018-19 leg, including three centuries as India won 2-1 Down Under.
His role was more prominent in the 2020-21 series, especially after Virat Kohli's paternal leave following the first Test and India getting all out in 36 in Adelaide. Pujara made a defiant 77 in the second innings in Sydney to save the match and struck 56 off 211 balls in the fourth innings in Brisbane to help the visitors chase down 329 for victory.