Former India National Cricket Team off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has backed Cheteshwar Pujara and said that the veteran batter receiving constant criticism over his poor batting form was unfair.
Cheteshwar Pujara along with Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha was dropped from the Indian Test squad in March ahead of the two-match home Test series against the Sri Lanka National Cricket Team.
The veteran batter, after playing Ranji Trophy, travelled to England and had a stellar run in the county championship with Sussex as he scored 720 runs in five games. Also, he smashed 4 centuries, including 2 double centuries, which helped him get a Test recall for the one-off Test against England.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, Harbhajan said that Pujara has always contributed to the team’s success. He added that the sword was hanging over him following a lean patch with the bat and everyone wanted him to be dropped even though there were others in the team who were also struggling. He said:
“Pujara has always contributed. When we won in Australia, he played a major role in India’s win. Even in England, he anchored the innings from one end and took the responsibility of seeing off the new ball. But the sword was still hanging over him. It was almost like drop him from the team as the rest are doing alright, which wasn’t correct according to me.”
He played well in English conditions – Harbhajan Singh on Cheteshwar Pujara
Harbhajan further said that playing cricket continuously is crucial for players, whichdoes. He also lauded Pujara for his stint with Sussex. He elaborated:
“It is important to keep playing cricket, which Pujara does. He played well in English conditions. Of course, in county cricket bowlers might not be of the same standard as international cricket, but you do face a couple of quality bowlers. It was good of Pujara to play county and he displayed fine form.”
Meanwhile, Pujara is expected to open the innings with young Shubman Gill in the rescheduled Test against England as opener KL Rahul has been ruled out of the match and India captain Rohit Sharma is doubtful for the game after getting tested positive for Covid-19.
India will be playing the 5th and last Test match of the series against England, which was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 scare in the Indian camp. The match will be played at the Edgbaston, Birmingham from Friday, July 1.
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