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Cheteshwar Pujara Deserves Fair Treatment, Says Harbhajan Singh Amid Omission

The Indian selection committee has announced the Test and ODI squads for the upcoming tour of West Indies next month. Notably, the exclusion of star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara from the Test team has sparked discussion.

Cheteshwar Pujara Deserves Fair Treatment, Says Harbhajan Singh Amid Omission

The Indian selection committee has announced the Test and ODI squads for the upcoming tour of West Indies next month. Notably, the exclusion of star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara from the Test team has sparked discussion. Pujara, a longstanding member of the Test squad, has been left out due to inconsistent performances in the format. In his place, young talents like Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad have been given an opportunity to stake claim for the number 3 spot.

Pujara's absence does not come as a surprise to many, given his average of 32 in the previous World Test Championship (WTC) cycle, where he played 17 Tests. It is worth mentioning that Pujara was also dropped from the team last year before the home series against Sri Lanka in February. However, he made a strong comeback in July after an impressive stint with Sussex in the County Championships.

Former cricketer Harbhajan Singh has come to Pujara's defense following his omission from the squad. Harbhajan expressed hope that Pujara has been “rested” rather than being dropped. He argued that other batsmen in the Indian XI have delivered performances similar to Pujara during the past year's WTC cycle, and it would be unfair to single out the 35-year-old batsman.


Wants better treatment for Pujara

“Cheteshwar Pujara isn't there, which makes me worried. He has been a big player for India. Hopefully, he's also given a break and not dropped. Pujara is the backbone of this team. If you're dropping him, then the averages of other batters haven't been good either. The benchmarks should be same for all players, no matter how big a player you are,” Harbhajan said on his official YouTube channel.

Harbhajan further expressed that if Pujara was not deemed a crucial player, then it logically followed that others were not considered key players either. He emphasised the importance of having no uncertainties regarding Pujara's career. He pointed out that India had achieved series victories in Australia and performed admirably in England, with Pujara making substantial contributions.

While acknowledging that Pujara's consistency had fluctuated in the past one-and-half years, Harbhajan suggested evaluating the performances of other batsmen too, as their figures were quite comparable. Consequently, he concluded that singling out Pujara was an unjust action.

Highlighting Pujara's impressive record of playing 100 Tests, Harbhajan emphasised the need to respect his achievements. He expressed his desire for clear communication between the selectors and Pujara before making such decisions. Harbhajan firmly believes that Pujara still possesses the ability to excel in Test cricket.

The Indian team is set to play two Tests and three ODIs in West Indies. The squad for the five T20Is against the Caribbean side will be announced later.