By India Today Sports Desk: Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh said that he hopes Cheteshwar Pujara, the backbone of the Indian men's Test team, has been rested and not dropped for the two-match Test series in West Indies.
Pujara was not selected for India's upcoming two-match Test series in the West Indies. He had scored just 14 and 27 runs in India's 209-run loss to Australia in the World Test Championship final earlier this month. Pujara's lack of runs in English conditions, despite his experience of playing in the county circuit with Sussex, was likely a factor in his omission from the squad.
"I hope it is a rest given to him rather than getting him dropped. A player who has played 100 Test matches should get the respect he deserves. I hope the selectors have talked to him and discussed the further roadmap with him," Harbhajan said in a video on his YouTube channel.
Harbhajan Singh also highlighted that other senior Indian batsmen's performances in the last two years were not significantly better than Pujara's. He urged the selectors to treat all players equally when making tough decisions.
"Cheteshwar Pujara is the backbone of this team, and if you are dropping him then the figures of other batters in the last two years aren’t that strong enough. These tough calls should be same for everyone, no matter how big player he is. If you don’t consider Cheteshwar Pujara a big player then for me, other players are not that great," Harbhajan added.
Notably, Pujara has returned to the domestic grind after being dropped from the Indian team. He has been selected for the West Zone side in the upcoming Duleep Trophy and has agreed to participate in the tournament immediately.
India’s Test squad for West Indies
Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), KS Bharat (WK), Ishan Kishan (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, Navdeep Saini