'Bold and inspiring' - Atherton on McCullum's appointment as England red-ball boss
13 May 2022
The ongoing season of County Championship has given some respite to Cheteshwar Pujara after being left out of the Indian Test squad due to lack of form. Playing for Sussex, Pujara has been churning out runs left, right, and center. In four games thus far, the right-hander from Saurashtra has scored two double hundreds and as many tons.
After many experts, now former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has given his views on whether Pujara could be considered for national duty, after this tremendous run for Sussex.
Speaking to Sports Tak, Gavaskar said, "Yes, it should be kept in mind (for India's Test match in England). Just last year we saw that before the World Test Championship final, New Zealand played two Test matches in England. Therefore, they got acclimatised to the conditions there and when they got similar conditions in Southampton for the WTC final. It was raining. They were used to the condition.”
Pujara is currently the second-highest run-getter in County Championship Division II, with 717 runs at a staggering average of 143.40.
Gavaskar explained how India could take advantage of Pujara’s form in county cricket. "This is what is happening to Cheteshwar Pujara. He has gotten used to batting in English conditions, against their bowlers. Yes, there is a huge difference between a County attack and a Test bowling attack, but when a batter is in rhythm, why not take advantage and consider him."
The Indian national selection committee decided to drop Pujara for the home series against Sri Lanka and urged him to regain lost form in the Ranji Trophy season ahead.
The out-of-favour Indian international was eventually demoted from Grade A to B when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) handed out central contracts for the upcoming season, earlier in March.
Later, the original 'Little Master' explained why Pujara remains a valuable asset for Team India.
"It's not like he will be making a comeback to the Test team after two to three years. It's been a matter of six to seven months. Till September, he was in the team. He was part of the team during the Test series against New Zealand and in South Africa too. He was in the team since January. So yes, he should definitely be considered for the XI. His ability to tire out the bowler and hold one end is highly needed. And we have seen that his strike-rate is good too in County cricket," Gavaskar concluded.