Aakash Chopra has insisted he does not believe the reports which suggest that Cheteshwar Pujara will be dropped from the Indian team for the first Test against England.
Pujara failed to deliver the goods in both innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) final. Certain reports have suggested that KL Rahul or Hanuma Vihari is likely to take the dogged batsman’s place in the Indian team for the first Test against England.
While responding to a fan question in a video shared on his Facebook page, Aakash Chopra pointed out that Cheteshwar Pujara’s century in India’s last trip to England should help him hold on to his spot. The former Indian opener said:
“Reports come but I am not believing that news because the last time India had toured England, Cheteshwar had scored a century. Yes, I know what you are thinking that his average is less than 30 in England and he has toured there two or three times.”
Chopra observed that while Cheteshwar Pujara’s gritty batting has helped Team India’s cause numerous times, it has also earned him brickbats. He highlighted:
“He didn’t score runs recently in the WTC as well. His style of play is very good for him, the team also benefits a lot at times but repeatedly controversy raises its head that you are taking so much time and not moving the game forward.”
Cheteshwar Pujara’s dogged approach certainly helped the Indian team during the Sydney and Brisbane Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. However, his inability to keep the scoreboard ticking at times allows the opposition to get on top.
“I definitely see Cheteshwar Pujara playing in the first Test match” – Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra, however, wants Team India to persist with Cheteshwar Pujara. He said:
“But I definitely see Cheteshwar Pujara playing in the first Test match. In my opinion, at this point in time, I will not touch him. I will continue with Cheteshwar Pujara.”
The 43-year-old signed off by expressing hope of Cheteshwar Pujara playing substantial knocks in the Test series against England. Chopra elaborated:
“I will also expect from Pujara, his average of 29 in England and the same average in the two-year WTC cycle, that’s not what Pujara is made of. He played all the matches, there were some important knocks, but the big runs have not come.”
Cheteshwar Pujara last scored a century in the 2019 Sydney Test against Australia. In the 18 Tests he has played since then, the India No.3 has scored 841 runs at an underwhelming average of 28.03.