NEW DELHI: In a recent development, Sourav Ganguly, former President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has voiced his opinion on the exclusion of Cheteshwar Pujara from India's Test squad for the upcoming West Indies tour. Ganguly expressed the need for selectors to have a clear idea about Pujara's future in the Indian cricket team and emphasized the importance of effective communication.
Pujara, a veteran batter and a crucial member of the Indian Test team, was not included in the squad that was announced on June 23, leading to divided opinions within the cricket fraternity. Many have questioned the selectors and management for their failure to provide an official update on whether Pujara was dropped or given rest. This lack of clarity has sparked discussions about the 35-year-old's role in the team going forward.
Having amassed over 7000 runs in 103 Test matches, Pujara has been India's premier number three batsman for years. However, his recent performance in the World Test Championship final, where he scored only 41 runs across two innings, and his struggle to register a single fifty in his last ten Test innings, have put his place in the team under scrutiny.
India's 209-run defeat in the WTC final prompted the selectors to drop Pujara from the West Indies tour. Despite this decision, the management has refrained from making an official statement about Pujara's potential return to future Test matches. Ganguly, known for his outspoken nature, has raised concerns about the selectors' approach, particularly in regards to Pujara's uncertain status.
Ganguly stressed the importance of clear communication between the selectors and Pujara, urging them to determine whether they still require Pujara in the Test format or if they intend to rely more on emerging young talents. He emphasized that a player of Pujara's caliber should not be subject to a cycle of being dropped and then picked again, only to face subsequent exclusions. Ganguly extended this concern to Ajinkya Rahane as well, another experienced player who has faced similar uncertainties.
Meanwhile, Pujara finds himself included in the West Zone squad for the ongoing Duleep Trophy 2023, where he will be eager to make a statement with his performance. In his absence from the Test squad, the management has opted to include promising youngsters Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad for the two-match series commencing on July 12 at Dominica's Windsor Park.
As the cricketing community awaits a definitive stance on Pujara's future, Ganguly's remarks serve as a reminder of the importance of transparent communication and decision-making within the Indian cricketing ecosystem. The selectors' handling of Pujara's situation will be crucial in determining the direction of Indian Test cricket and the role played by both experienced players and emerging talents in shaping the team's future success.