India lost the first Test of the five-match series against England at Edgbaston by 31 runs thanks to a spirited bowling effort by England.
Indian batting failed in total with only Virat Kohli scoring 149 & 51 in the two innings of the Test. Seeing this, West Indies fast bowling legend Michael Holding opined that Indian team management made a blunder by leaving out Cheteshwar Pujara from the playing XI. Though, Pujara is ranked No. 6 in Tests; he didn’t have a good series in South Africa or for Yorkshire in the county circuit in past few months.
Not only this, Pujara failed to cash in against Afghanistan or against Essex in the practice game. Eventually, this led to an assured Pujara losing his spot in the final XI to KL Rahul.
Holding, who took 249 wickets in 60 Tests for West Indies from 1975-1987, said, “I do not understand how they are so reluctant to play Pujara. He’s too good a player. If Kohli had no form, would they leave him out? I’m not saying Pujara is as good as Kohli because Kohli is way above everyone else. But when you have (for example) a Rahul Dravid, a VVS Laxman or a Sourav Ganguly who is not in excellent form, do you leave them out? No.”
Holding also suggested that Hardik Pandya should make way for Cheteshwar Pujara in the second Test at Lord’s.
“Pandya, it seems as if he’s the golden boy in this team. Everyone thinks he’s going to be the next Kapil Dev. He hasn’t shown that yet. Why not pick a batsman (instead)? Pandya got a few runs in the second innings but is he a better batsman than Pujara? I don’t think so, and you don’t need him as a bowler in my eyes,” the Jamaican clearly said.