Virender Sehwag's Cheteshwar Pujara Quip Sparks Team Selection Debate

Updated: 06 August 2018 12:19 IST

Cheteshwar Pujara's absence from the playing XI for the 1st Test has become a point of debate.

Virender Sehwag
Cheteshwar Pujara was a surprise exclusion from the India playing XI for the 1st Test. © AFP

Cheteshwar Pujara was left out of the India playing XI for the first Test against England at Edgbaston, which the visitors went on to lose by 31 runs. The right-hander's exclusion raised quite a few eyebrows with many fans slamming the decision. India's narrow loss further put a spotlight on the team selection and the decision to leave Pujara out. Ahead of the second Test, starting on August 9 at Lord's, former India cricketer Virender Sehwag on Monday weighed in on India's team selection with a pun that only managed to spark yet another debate on whether Pujara should play the 2nd Test and if he does, whom should he replace?

"Pope likely to play for England, Should India play Pujara in the second test. ? After all it's Lords," tweeted Sehwag.

A horde of fans descended on Sehwag's tweet to have their say with the general consensus being that Pujara should be a part of the Indian playing XI for the 2nd Test.

However, there were a few sceptics as well.

In the first Test, Pujara's absence was felt across the board with India captain Virat Kohli waging a lone battle against the England bowlers. The rest of the Indian batsmen failed miserably as India failed to chased down the 194-run target set by the hosts.

Kohli scored his maiden century on English soil and followed that with a fifty in the second innings. Kohli's 22nd Test century and his 200-run tally in the Edgbaston Test vaulted him to the top of the ICC Test rankings for batsmen.

But the return for the other batsmen was absolutely dismal.

Murali Vijay (26) and Ajinkya Rahane (17) contributed just 43 runs together in their two innings at Edgbaston while Dhawan (26, 13) scored a total of 39 runs in the two innings. KL Rahul (4, 13) managed a total of 17 runs while Dinesh Karthik (0, 20) contributed just 20 runs.

The lacklustre batting display only managed to fan the Pujara flames. Incidentally, India have more than a 50 per cent win rate when Pujara plays. With the middle-order batsman in the side, India have won 33 of the 58 Tests played, losing 12 and 13 matches ending in draw (win percentage - 56.90).

However, without Pujara in the playing XI, India's win percentage drops alarmingly to 26.09 (23 Tests, 6 wins, 10 lost, drawn 7).

Highlights
  • Cheteshwar Pujara was not part of playing XI for 1st Test
  • Sehwag asked fans if Pujara should play the Lord's Test
  • Sehwag's question sparked a team selection debate on Twitter
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