Virender Sehwag's Cheteshwar Pujara Quip Sparks Team Selection Debate
Cheteshwar Pujara's absence from the playing XI for the 1st Test has become a point of debate.
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.
Pope likely to play for England,— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 6, 2018
Should India play Pujara in the second test. ?
After all it's Lords
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.
Worst decision of Indian selection committee was to add dhawan and karthik instead of Pujara and rishab pannt. Our team is almost the same in both three formats. When are we gonna try new talents ?— Shubham Anil Ratnakar (@vadapaaaaav) August 6, 2018
Absolutely yes. He should have played in the first test itself. I wonder what selector were thinking while selecting team.— lazy lump (@vilashsonwane) August 6, 2018
Yes to Pujara and no to Dhawan sirji !!— Harsheal Maniyar (@harshal1711) August 6, 2018
Pujara is must paaji bcz of his class irrespective of form— Vinod J (@vinnutony) August 6, 2018
Would advice to @imVkohli to replace Dhawan with Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane with Cheteshwar Pujara. Opening slot between K.L Rahul and Murali vijay. As K.L Rahul performance as an opener is much better then 01st down.— HEMANT JHA (@jhahemant1) August 6, 2018
However, there were a few sceptics as well.
No— Aviral Srivastava (@aviral121999) August 6, 2018
I don't think so... team should be same— Annu (@Annu33301053) August 6, 2018
Same playing XI— kouragious_(@impari1337) August 6, 2018
It's just a second test...So Test the KL Rahul One more time...— Ajay S. Tandle (@tandle_s) August 6, 2018
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).