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  1. Arch rivals haven't faced each other in bilateral series since Pakistan toured India in 2012/13 during a brief thaw in relations
  2. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday announced Rohit Sharma as India’s Test captain, as he took over the mantle from former Indian skipper Virat Kohli. JUST IN: India have named their new permanent Test captain. Details https://t.co/lgLdDROGyE — ICC (@ICC) February 19, 2022 Rohit was appointed as the vice-captain of the Test team in December 2021 after Ajnkya Rahane was removed as captain due to his poor form. Jasprit Bumrah has been appointed as the T20 & Test vice-captain for the Sri Lanka series. Jasprit Bumrah appointed as T20 & Test vice-captain for the upcoming Sri Lanka series (file pic) pic.twitter.com/6w9OCWZFCI — ANI (@ANI) February 19, 2022 Speaking to the media, chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma said, “Rohit Sharma is the number one cricketer of our country,” while announcing that the 34-year-old will be leading India in the upcoming two-Test series against Sri Lanka, which starts on March 4th 2022. Ahead of this decision being announced a lot of Sharma’s critics had made their concern known regarding his fitness. However, putting the questions to rest, Chairman Man assured that the batter’s fitness was not an issue whatsoever. © Reuters “Today's professional cricketers manage their body and Rohit has not problem at all and he is absolutely okay. And if such an experienced and big cricketer comes forward and becomes captain, then the future captains to be groomed under Rohit would be a tremendous thing for us,” he said. Meanwhile, as the squad for India’s upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka was announced, the names of India batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have been dropped. © Reuters "The selection committee thought a lot before making the decision. We spoke to them earlier. We told them we will not consider them for 2 Test matches for Sri Lanka. We told them the doors are absolutely open for them. In just 2 Test matches, selectors decided to give chances to other cricketers. They are playing Ranji Trophy," Sharma said. © Reuters KL Rahul will also be unavailable due to fitness concerns. Twitter was instantly abuzz after news of Pujara and Rahane being dropped from the squad broke and the reactions were mixed: This was a good chance for rahane and pujara to statpad against lanka in home and secure place for next 1 more year ... Plan got failed — Kartik (@kchandwaskar) February 19, 2022Sad for Rahane and Pujara but this was coming anyways due to poor form in last couple of years. But still great servants of Indian cricket — Miscellaneous (@Indiannomadic) February 19, 2022Good very good not just for Rohit as captain but also good not playing Rahane and Pujara drop in Srilanka test series. One match making 150 in domestic doesn't mean Rahane get chance. Play more matches improve ur form both Rahane and Pujara — Sourav Chaudhury (@SouravChaudhur5) February 19, 2022I think pujara still have that potential, We must not drop him — vikas pandey (@vikaspandey6) February 19, 2022Very good decision to drop them. Well done @BCCI — vincy jackoo7 (@vinayakkjadha7) February 19, 2022 India's Test Squad For SL Series: Rohit Sharma (C), Mayank Agarwal, Priyank Panchal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, KS Bharat, Ashwin (fitness), Ravi Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep, Bumrah (VC), Shami, Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Sourabh Kumar. Source: TOI View the full article
  3. One of the biggest questions that have emerged out of India’s recent loss against South Africa in the three-match Test series is about the future of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara with the team. In the post-match press conference, Indian skipper Virat Kohli addressed the situation and very quickly and swiftly shifted this responsibility over the head of the team selectors. View this post on Instagram A journalist who was virtually present in the press conference asked the Indian skipper whether he knew about Pujara and Rahane’s fate with the team and for how long does he feel these two should be kept in the Playing XI for the work that they have done for the team in the past, even if they aren’t nearly as good at the moment. Instead of being clear about whether or not he was happy (or unhappy) about having Pujara and Rahane aboard, instead of gathering the courage to say the truth, Kohli opted to bail out of the situation, get his name clear of all the decision-making processes in the future and essentially said that he had no authority in deciding whether or not the two red-ball veterans would be a part of the team for the upcoming series. Kohli about Pujara-Rahane . No clear indication about the future though.pic.twitter.com/O6QyJ43gct — Ryan (@ryandesa_07) January 14, 2022 “I cannot sit here and talk about what’s gonna happen in the future. That’s not for me to sit here and discuss. You probably have to speak to the selectors, what they have in mind. This is not my job,” he said while replying to the journalist. “As I have said before, I will say again, we will continue to back Cheteshwar and Ajinkya because of the kind of players they are, what they have done in Test cricket for India over the years, playing crucial knock in the second innings (in Johannesburg) as well. These are kind of performances we recognise as a team,” the skipper added rather unconvincingly. “What the selectors decide to do, I obviously will not comment sitting here.” View this post on Instagram Obviously, the people watching the press conference could see right through what Kohli was trying to do and they were rather forthcoming in calling BS on the Indian skipper’s ways to free himself of all the blame and putting the onus on the team selectors alone. on top of it hes putting on the selectors. that i cant take a decision. selecting in 11 is his decision. & that means if selectors select them in squad he will play them in 11 — naq5 (@ntweet_55) January 14, 2022He needs them coz he is part of the failed middle order. If he throws them out then next he will be in line. — lifeisbeautiful (@intensegasser) January 14, 2022Kohli himself not performing and last time after WTC when he spoke of overhaul he was criticised, he himself won take decision to drop these two, he politically pushing it to selectors.If these get chance and fail it is selectors responsibility not virat as cap.well played — Rajdeep Ghosh (@rajdeep_ghosh) January 14, 2022Conclusion: team wants them unless selectors decide otherwise. — Sumit (@SKB40257164) January 14, 2022not a fan of this. it is the captain's duty to step up and choose an 11. its not that India did not have options...they had legitimate options waiting and could have been tried. you drop a player if they are not performing, and if you have options. it should have been VK. https://t.co/qzMAiVWPyJ — Tirthesh Jain (@TirtheshJain2) January 14, 2022The Men in Blue lost the third and final Test of the series to South Africa by seven wickets, resulting in a 2-1 series loss in Cape Town. The Proteas resumed their 212-run chase on Day 4 of the Test, reaching the goal with absolute ease immediately after the second session, while Kohli and his team’s hunt for a first Test series victory on South African soil continued. Despite an easy victory in the first game in Centurion, this tour was hailed as India's greatest chance to snap a winless Test series record in South Africa, and the Virat Kohli-led team will mourn the squandered opportunity now. View the full article
  4. Not everyone in Indian cricket gets a long rope despite a string of low scores like the duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have been getting. We have seen the likes of legends like Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag being dropped by the selectors due to poor form but that doesn't seem to be the case with the current selectors and team management. Both Pujara and Rahane have played six innings each in the ongoing tour of South Africa and have scored 124 and 136 runs, respectively. India's lead crosses the 50-run mark! With Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease, how many runs will the visitors add in this session?#WTC23 | #ENGvIND | https://t.co/rhWT865o91 pic.twitter.com/FlZzc9x16A — ICC (@ICC) August 15, 2021 The duo, who was already under fire for not performing, had the chance to shut their critics with a match-winning knock in the third Test in Cape Town. However, the start of Day 3 of the Test saw Pujara lose his wicket on the second ball of the day and Rahane too followed suit in the very next over. The dismal batting performance of the duo saw a lot of reactions from fans on social media and most of them had only one thing to say 'enough is enough'. Thank you pujara n rahane for your services ,we will not #pujara #AjinkyaRahane #INDvsSA pic.twitter.com/qf7BkFXUu5 — Kanik Sharma (@Rubinik_1611) January 13, 2022Enough is enough. India need to move on now from #pujara #rahane — Rahul Gupta (@grahul3011) January 13, 2022It will be harsh on Shreyas and Gill if India continue to keep their faith in Pujara and Rahane for the Sri Lanka series. If the rope is still long, time to take a knife and cut it. Time to rebuild. — Venkata Krishna B (@venkatatweets) January 13, 2022Happy Retirement Ajinkya Rahane & Cheteshwar Pujara #Purane #Rahane #SAvsIND #INDvSA pic.twitter.com/NO2tuWKd3R — CRICKET VIDEOS (@AbdullahNeaz) January 13, 2022List of reasons why Ajinkya Rahane should play next test series. #INDvsSA #PURANE pic.twitter.com/wWoy2ppdht — Positive Entropy (@EntropyPositive) January 13, 2022Expectation. Reality #INDvsSA #purane pic.twitter.com/ze6zD3VYma — s. (@VkRightarmquick) January 13, 2022When Pujara/Rahane plays, every delievery seems to be ball of the century — flick_18 (@kohli_ftw) January 13, 2022This is awfully frustrating for Team India. It is like playing with 2 batsmen short. #Pujara and #Rahane have been given a very very long rope by the Selectors. Time for them to go. #INDvsSA — Sumanth Raman (@sumanthraman) January 13, 2022With captain Virat Kohli returning to the playing XI, India persisted with Rahane in the middle-order and dropped Hanuma Vihari even after the latter impressed one and all in the second Test. Rahane registered scores of nine and one in two innings of the series decider. On the other hand, Pujara after contributing with a knock of 43 in the first innings, fell for nine in the second essay. Disappointed with the result. Looking forward to the decider in cape town. pic.twitter.com/RcfZ8K4H8F — Hanuma vihari (@Hanumavihari) January 7, 2022 Apart from Vihari, there is Shreyas Iyer as well waiting in the wings for a spot in the Indian Test team's middle-order. Iyer started his Test career with a century and a half-ton in his debut game but the team went for experience in the Rainbow nation but with what we have seen on this tour, the decision backfired. Rahane and Pujara's failure with the bat left India in a spot of bother but captain Kohli and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant steadied the ship. Drinks in Cape Town India have arrested the slide, with Pant and Kohli taking the lead past the 100-run mark amid scintillating bowling. Riveting Test cricket. Watch #SAvIND live on https://t.co/CPDKNxpgZ3 (in select regions)#WTC23 | https://t.co/Wbb1FE2mW1 pic.twitter.com/4rqOurWvh6 — ICC (@ICC) January 13, 2022 It is now down to Kohli, once again, to take India's total to a stage where their bowlers can feel confident enough of bundling out the Proteas and registering the first-ever Test series win in South Africa. View the full article
  5. Cheteshwar Pujara has found himself in the middle of a public outcry as the fans and some analysts demand his ouster from the Playing XI ahead of the third Test between India and South Africa in Cape Town due to inconsistency and lack of good innings coming from his bat, with the exception of the second inning of the second Test. Considered to be a specialist of red-ball cricket, the fact that Pujara has not been able to hold his ground or score big runs while consuming a lot of deliveries, have led to a big stain on the batter’s reputation and with every single day, more and more criticism seems to be coming his way. View this post on Instagram It is only human nature to feel the pressure, the nerve-wracking burden on your shoulders to perform well, especially when the entire world is against you and looking for one tiny opportunity to point a finger at your mistakes. As a result, competitors end up doing worse than where they already were when they had first started out. That’s a drawback of being an international cricketer in India. Nonetheless, Pujara seems to have earned some brownie points with the former captain of the Men in Blue, Sunil Gavaskar, who called him a “blessing” and advocated his presence in the Indian dressing room, especially because of the calm demeanor he has championed over the years. View this post on Instagram “It is a great, great blessing to have players of this temperament in your dressing room. (It may not be) necessarily just on the field but it’s a huge plus and I think having somebody with Cheteshwar Puajra’s temperament in the changing room must be absolutely terrific,” Gavaskar on SuperSport. Gavaskar also compared him to the South African batting legend Hasim Amla while talking about how both the batters managed to neutralize the difficulties and variations that different bowlers try to put on the batters and also because of the varied pitches. View this post on Instagram “When I look at him (Pujara), he reminds me of Hashim. Watching Hashim bat, you know there’s a sense of calm that everything is under control. The ball could be doing things but there was that sense because even on pitches where the ball was turning, the way Hashim was batting in India, it was almost as if, ‘look, nothing’s happening’, and that’s the same thing with Cheteshwar Pujara,” he said. While Pujara’s primary role is that to play some good knocks, build a strong total for his country and ensure not giving up his wicket way too early, Gavaskar feels that the veteran has also taken up the responsibility of acting as the anchor of the team who manages to bind everyone together and hold things down on the ship despite disturbances and massive tidal waves coming their way. View this post on Instagram “In international cricket, there are several moments of tension where people would want to do this or that or the other. When you have somebody who’s going to think about it calmly and give you a measured opinion it makes a big difference,” Gavaskar said in addition to complimenting the batter. And even though Gavaskar’s words of support may instill a lot of confidence in Pujara, the fact that third match in Cape Town could be a series decider, his chances of being dropped from the Playing XI are high and the same is the case with the former vice-captain of the Test squad, Ajinkya Rahane. View the full article
  6. Indian Test cricket veterans Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have been under fire for a really long time for not being able to perform consistently and still being given a lot of chances to improve themselves despite some extremely talented players waiting for their turn to break through the red-ball team. The situation reached boiling point during the first inning of the second Test between India and South Africa at the Wanderers cricket ground when Pujara and Rahane got out at 3 and 0 respectively. View this post on Instagram Some of the biggest names of the Indian cricket fraternity, including the former captain of the Indian cricket team, Sunil Gavaskar and wicketkeeper batter Dinesh Karthik had criticised the two players and had said that their time with the team may have come to an end. They had also spoken about how players like Shreyas Iyer, who are a lot younger and much in-tune with their batting abilities at the moment, deserve a spot in the team, probably even more than the two of them. And then came the second inning of the second Test which gave the two players enough ammunition to talk back at the critics. Both Pujara and Rahane managed to make half-centuries and were two of the highest scorers and even set the record for India's fastest-ever century partnership in South Africa, on their way to building a low-scoring total of 266 runs. View this post on Instagram At the end of the Day 3 of the match, Pujara said that he was looking forward to opportunities to score while not having to force anything. He added that the pitch had variable bounce and there has made it difficult for batters on either side to stick to the wicket. "Whenever you get a loose ball you want to make sure that you put it away. You never know when you will get an unplayable ball. So yes, it was part of my game plan that if I get a loose ball I will try and convert it, but I didn't do anything extra,” he said. View this post on Instagram Addressing the criticism that Rahane and he had been facing over the past few days, Pujara said that the team internally and the coaching staff were extremely supportive during the slump and that whatever negativity was coming their way, it was simply “outside noise”. “There are times when you don't get too many runs, but the important thing as a cricketer is following the right routine, having good work ethics, and keep working on your game, because there are times when you will not get runs, but if you follow the right processes, you get runs on the board,” he added. Many fans of the game felt that Pujara started using his Test captain Virat Kohli’s exact words to deal with criticism, even if all of it was well-deserved: but how many yrs not performing nd suddenly one half century nd playing next matches same formula — Rajesh (@kannar852) January 6, 2022As responsible senior pro Pujara will have to define the meaning out side noise VK coined this word now it's Pujara any constructive criticism based on facts by Media fans is reckoned as outside noise.This attitude to criticism will ruin cricket VK Pujji are creation of Fan media — Venkatraman sreedharan (@Venkatramansre2) January 6, 2022Attitude bc — Mukul Bansal (@mukku_here) January 6, 2022You and the test captain are in the same boat averaging 25 — ᏞᎧᏦI (@_Ro_45_) January 5, 2022All say same things Outside noise, supportive, belief, process. — Cric Lover (@CricketFan444) January 5, 2022Yes all fans are outside noise these two keep on playing with low scores year after year...seems like it is personal team, see the attitude after scoring a 53..still he did decent in england wht about rahane, given so many chances , 40 runs of him hailed as 100..bad for cricket — Rajdeep Ghosh (@rajdeep_ghosh) January 5, 2022 View the full article
  7. After the rather surprisingly disappointing first innings played by Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane during the second Test of the India-South Africa Test series, the two cricketers have been the talk of the town as analysts and fans believe that they might be dropped from the squad as soon as the match is over. However, former Indian all-rounder, Irfan Pathan suggests that the captain of the Indian Test cricket team, Virat Kohli’s situation is not a lot different from Rahane and Pujara and that if he continues to show bad form and get out early due to lack of patience, the outcome may not be a lot different for him as well. View this post on Instagram "We are talking about senior players here, they have played more than 60 Test matches and when you have played that amount of Test cricket for India, you need to average more than 40. And if you look at their averages in the last 3 years, it has been under 30 and that is highly disappointing," Pathan told Star Sports. On Day 1 of the Wanderers Test, Pujara took 33 deliveries to score just three runs and then get dismissed while getting completely stunned by Duanne Olivier and lofting an easy catch into the hands of Temba Bavuma. On the other hand, Rahane managed to get the first-ever golden-duck of his career in the longest format of the game. View this post on Instagram While Rahane did manage to put up some numbers during the first Test at the Centurion (48 and 20), it felt as if Pujara has been completely out of touch with the game as he got out on a golden duck in the first inning and hit 16 of 64 deliveries in the second. When it comes to Kohli, the numbers aren’t all that different. The Test skipper scored 35 and 18 in the first and second innings of Test 1, respectively and is missing from the squad for the second Test after suffering upper back spasms days before the match began. Kohli has also not hit a single century in over two years. His ton against Bangladesh during the November 2019 Pink Ball Test at Eden Gardens remains his most recent triple-digit score. ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year ICC Men's Test Cricketer of the Year ICC Men's ODI Cricketer of the Year Captain of ICC Test Team of the Year Captain of ICC Men's ODI Team of the Year Let's hear from the man himself, @imvKohli! #ICCAwards pic.twitter.com/3M2pxyC44n — ICC (@ICC) January 22, 2019 Pathan is surprised how the Men in Blue have managed to do so well in the longest format of the game despite Kohli’s seemingly ever-lasting slump in form. If India manages to win the Test series in South Africa, they would complete their quest for world dominance in Tests, including on the turf of the mighty SENA countries. "Surprising that India is still doing well despite Virat Kohli not scoring runs, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the same boat. They need to start performing consistently because guys are waiting in the wings," Pathan said. View the full article
  8. Apart from the Virat Kohli-Sourav Ganguly controversy, the biggest talking point in Indian cricket in the last couple of months has been the future of two veteran cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. Heading into the three-match Test series against South Africa, many fans and experts were convinced that this series would be a do-or-die opportunity for the two senior pros and if they returned with below average performance, like they had in the last couple of years, it could bring their international career to an end. © Reuters Half of the Test series is already over and neither of the batters have done enough to warrant a spot in the starting line-up. For Pujara this series has been nothing short of a nightmare and the Saurashtra batter would want to get it out of his system as soon as possible. Rahane, on the other hand, did score some valuable runs in the first innings of the opening Test, helping the visitors to a healthy total but since then his batting has been on a downward spiral. If that was not all, he hit rock bottom on the opening day of the second Test, scoring the first golden duck of his Test career. © Reuters After their combined failure in the first innings in Johannesburg, a majority of the fans and experts seem to have run out of patience with the two veterans as they believe that the long rope that they had been enjoying is getting shorter with each failure and it’s only a matter of time that they are left out not just from the Playing XI but the red-ball squad altogether. However, there is one man who still believes that both these experienced batters should be backed for the whole series, if not more. He argued that dropping either of them on the bench in the middle of the series would be a huge mistake. © Reuters Former Indian fast bowler Ashish Nehra said these words in response to the comments made by legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, who had articulated that both these players have “one more innings to save their careers”. Slamming Gavaskar’s remarks against Pujara and Rahane, the former Delhi pacer argued that even Test skipper Virat Kohli has had a horrendous run in recent times but nobody was talking about his poor performance just because he was the leader of the squad. “Even Virat Kohli has similar numbers but nobody is questioning his place in the team. Obviously, he is the captain and what Kohli has done is on a completely different level from the two batters we are talking about. It is not fair to compare, but Rahane and Pujara have also been second to none at their peak, especially the latter,” Nehra said on Cricbuzz. “If you have backed a player like Rahane for the 1st Test, it would be better to carry on with him for the rest of the series. Agreed, both Pujara and Rahane have been in big trouble of late. But changing players in the middle of an important series is a big decision." © Reuters “If you have chosen Rahane ahead of Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari, I feel he should then be played for the entire series. Nothing much can change in one or two Tests. Their batting has been an issue for a while now, so why not give them a couple more games? When you are winning, you can give players an extended run. A decision can be taken after the series,” Nehra concluded. Whether the team management decides to give Pujara and Rahane one more chance or drop them on the bench in the next match, one thing's for sure that they can’t please everyone. That's why Kohli and head coach Rahul Dravid must do what they think would be in the best interest of the Indian team. View the full article
  9. With regular skipper Virat Kohli missing the second Test against South Africa due to back spasm, all eyes were on two senior most members of the team Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. © Reuters Both the Test specialists are going through a horrid run at the moment and many believe their international career is hanging by a thread. In fact, many fans and experts had expected the team management to drop at least one of them on the bench going into a crucial encounter and included more deserving players like Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyer. However, injury to the Indian Test skipper meant that both the veteran players were able to retain their position in the Indian batting line-up, with Vihari coming in place of injured Kohli. © Reuters They managed to get one more Test appearance under their belt but they turned sorry figures with the bat, getting out on successive deliveries from Duanne Olivier in the morning session on Day 1. The biggest worrying sign was that the deliveries that sent them packing were pretty ordinary balls and could have been easily left had they played with a little bit of caution. The Saurahstra batter struggled his way to three off 33 deliveries but foiled all his hard work by playing a reckless shot off a short-of-length delivery from Olivier which went straight to Temba Bavuma at point. © Reuters If Pujara’s dismissal was ugly, Rahane’s wicket was even more horrendous. Olivier bowled a decent delivery outside off stump but the 33-year-old batter threw his bat at it and ended up giving a simple catch to the slip cordon off the very first delivery that he faced. This was his first golden duck of his Test career. The way both the batters threw away their wickets, the fans who had already lost their patience with them started bidding farewell to them on the micro-blogging site. I think Pujara & Rahane have become Purane. — Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) January 3, 2022Totally agree. No more chances for them in this series — Jitu Mehta (@jitu70069205) January 3, 2022This should probably be their last test match. — Sandeep Panjwani (@SandeepRealTime) January 3, 2022 pic.twitter.com/vk3WSFlpkk — Pranitkumar (@Pranitk61133714) January 3, 2022Probably end of an era. Thank you Rahane and Pujara for the contribution to Indian cricket. Wish you all the best for the future. — Tejas Adake (@tejas_adake) January 3, 2022What was different this time around was that batting legend Sunil Gavskar, who had backed both the players immensely despite their low scores, was also convinced that this match could very well be the end of their international careers. Making the bold claim after Rahane’s dismissal, the ‘Little Master’ said that he wouldn't be surprised if they didn’t turn up for India ever again after this match. He also added that the only way they could save their career was if they performed in the second innings of the ongoing second Test match in Johannesburg. If not they should be ready to pack their bags. © Reuters “After those two dismissals one can say that they probably have just the next innings, both Pujara and Rahane, to save their Test careers,” Gavaskar said in the commentary box. “There have been questions asked about their place in the team and now with these two dismissals they have just one innings left. If there is another innings and the way India is going, it looks like there will be another for them to score something and maybe keep their place in the team,” said the batting legend. © Reuters Every good thing comes to an end and it seems like both these veteran cricketers have run their course and it’s time that we look at the future and give opportunities to the youngsters. View the full article
  10. Ajinkya Rahane’s inclusion in India’s starting line-up for the Boxing Day Test against South Africa raised quite a few eyebrows as people couldn’t understand why he was preferred to some of the in-form batters like Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari. Rahane wasn’t the only one who was going through a lean patch and finding it difficult to score runs on a consistent basis but hardly anyone talked about the other senior cricketer who had been equally miserable for the Indian team in the recent past. © Reuters Yes we are talking about veteran India batter Cheteshwar Pujara, who has failed to impress in the last few Test series, both home and abroad. While the whole world is focussed on showing Rahane the exit door, don’t be surprised if the management decides to retain the Mumbai batter in their line-up and leave the Saurashtra batter out going into the second Test match. In fact, Pujara would have no one but himself to blame for his precarious situation. Overlooking his recent failures, skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Rahul Dravid entrusted him with the responsibility of holding the Indian innings together but he failed in both the innings in Centurion, managing only 16 runs across two innings. © Reuters The 33-year-old batter had to face heavy criticism on social media after he failed to capitalise on the brilliant start given by two Indian openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal and got out for a golden duck. Naturally he came into the second innings, determined to right his wrong knowing that another failure could possibly bring his international career to an end. He even got a lifeline when Kagiso Rabada dropped a sitter when he was batting on four. Playing in typical Pujara-style, he crawled his way to 16 off 64 balls but couldn’t make the most of the opportunity and threw away his wicket trying to flick a ball off his pads, with Lungi Ngidi causing his downfall. © Instagram Indian Cricket Team The reason why Pujara is more likely to be dropped on the bench is because Rahane played a crucial innings in the first innings that helped the visitors post a healthy 327-run total on the board. Former India all-rounder Madan Lal also feels that more than Rahane, it’s Pujara whose spot in the side is under threat because there are in-form players who are ready to take his place in the side. “Pujara is struggling. There are no two ways about it. There are players in the squad who can push him out of the XI. At No. 3, even the captain needs a player you can hold the innings and get some runs at the same time,” Madan Lal said on Aaj Tak. So, if the management keeps the emotion aside and thinks rationally there is no way we would be seeing Pujara find a place in the Playing XI for the second Test especially with youngsters like Shreyas Iyer waiting in the line for his turn. View the full article
  11. In this day and age of fast-paced cricket, it’s hard to be Cheteshwar Pujara. Even though he only plays the longest format, everyone expects him to score runs at brisk pace. The Saurashtra cricketer often faces criticism for being too slow and not showing enough intent. Ignoring all that, Pujara just keeps his head down and goes about his business as usual. But something unusual happened on Day 2 of the ongoing second Test between India and New Zealand in Mumbai. © Instagram Cheteshwar Pujara Playing against his nature, the Indian veteran dispatched a half-tracker from New Zealand’s first innings hero Ajaz Patel over mid-wicket for a six -- his first international six in two years. The last one came against South Africa in 2019. Hitting a six is a normal scoring shot then why so much fuss about it, one would ask. See, the point is clearing the ropes might be a normal affair for other batters but not Pujara. Not that he lacks the skills, he just doesn’t want hitting a bowler over the top, it’s against his style of play. © Reuters That’s why when he cleared the ropes, it lit up the internet. The fans also recalled how Ravichandran Ashwin, before the home Test series against England earlier this year, had thrown an open challenge to the middle-order batter promising that if he went over the top he would shave off half his moustache and come out to play. Pujara smacked a six Time for Ashwin anna to shave half of his moustache Come on @ashwinravi99 #INDvNZ#Ashwin #Pujara pic.twitter.com/sCHyGmbrmW — Captain bavuma (@realpraveen77) December 4, 2021 Talking to Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour on his official YouTube channel, Ashwin had asked: “Will we ever see Pujara hit an off-spinner over the top?” To which Rathour replied, “Work-in-progress. I’m trying to convince him that at least once go over the top. He is still not convinced, He is giving me great reasons. © Reuters “That’s a great challenge to put across. Let’s hope that he takes it up. I don’t think he will take it up,” Rathour said. “If he goes over the top against Moeen Ali or any other spinner stepping down the wicket in this English series that we gonna play, I will take half my moustache out and come to play the game. This is an open challenge,” said Ashwin, describing the simple terms of his open challenge. © Reuters Now that was quite a daring thing to promise. But Ashwin somewhat knew that Pujara wouldn’t take his challenge up and he was saved from the embarrassment. After more than six months, Pujara finally accepted his challenge and played an aggressive shot against Patel and fans started reminding Ashwin to fulfill his promise and shave his moustache. Pujara hitting a six I remember @ashwinravi99 mention on his YT that if Pujara hits a 6 off a spinner, Ashwin will shave half his moustache like in 'thillu mullu'. @ashwinravi99 ready ah sir? — Karthik (@KarthikRams18) December 4, 2021So, is Ashwin going to shave off half his mustache now that @cheteshwar1 has hit a six? ;) Or was it valid only for the England series? — Amit Das (@das_think) December 5, 2021We demand @ashwinravi99 's moustache now since @cheteshwar1 hit a six #INDvzNZ #pujara #Ashwin #IndianCricketTeam — Just curious (@being_jigyasu) December 4, 2021Pujara smacked a six Time for Ashwin anna to shave half of his moustache Come on @ashwinravi99 #INDvNZ#Ashwin #Pujara https://t.co/EnWNIl8W7a — Shoronjeet Banerjee (@shoronjeet02) December 4, 2021Ashwin, Pujara hit six today. I hope you would keep half mustache as promised. — $ubr@m@n!an 🇮 (@imsubrk) December 4, 2021Remember when Ashwin told that he'll shave off half his mustache when pujara hits a six off a bowler? Well, now is the time — Sriram (@xyz23621554) December 4, 2021However, it’s important to point out that Ashwin had clearly mentioned that his challenge was limited to only the England series not beyond that. Secondly, even though decides to be a sport and take the dare, he just can’t do it because he is sporting a clean-shaven look these days. But one thing is for sure, he would definitely think twice before throwing daring challenges. View the full article
  12. It is true that the Pakistan cricket team was playing at an incredible level throughout the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup 2021. They were undefeated and even managed to dominate the Indian side with a 10-wicket win to break their streak of losses against their neighbouring rivals in World Cup matches. 𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓. 𝐀. 𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐅𝐎𝐑𝐌𝐀𝐍𝐂𝐄 #T20WorldCup | #INDvPAK | https://t.co/74tB9RjNUH pic.twitter.com/DHagg9XqtN — ICC (@ICC) October 24, 2021 However, when it came to the knockout rounds, their dreams were shattered by a certain Australian cricketer Matthew Wade, who struck three consecutive sixes to not only change the entire flow of the match but even allow his squad to pick the victory and move on to the final with 1 over to spare. It is because of this shocking loss that the Indian fans feel that the statisticians at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) got overwhelmed and created a hilariously inaccurate post which was then put on the internet by their social media team, through Twitter. A tweet from official Pakistan Cricket handle. pic.twitter.com/xnDfRHQg9n — Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) November 11, 2021 According to the post, Pakistani skipper Babar Azam became the fastest cricketer to score 2500 runs in the shortest format of the game while taking just 62 innings to do so and in the process, overthrew Cheteshwar Pujara as India’s greatest T20I player, followed by BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, Sunil Gavaskar (who retired in 1987 - 17 years before the first T20I match was played) and Vijay Hazare (who passed away in 2004). Clearly, this has to be one of the kiddish social media interns at the PCB who made the graphic as a joke to have some fun within the organisation. However, for the social media team to put it online and that too through their official account, shows the lack of seriousness. Bhai actual picture to ye hai . Jo pcb ne upload kari hai , pic.twitter.com/vGjqhzUtiH — Manoj Badatya (@badatyaManoj_05) November 11, 2021 Realising what they had done a hour ago, the post was deleted and the correct graphic was shared. However, the damage was done by then as social media trolls and meme-makers had already grabbed a screenshot. Here’s how the Indian social media reacted to Pakistan crowning Cheteshwar Pujara as the greatest T20I scorer for the Men in Blue: That's why I keep saying replace Kl with Pujara — Pushkar (@Pushkar49574899) November 11, 2021Gavaskar played t20??? When bro???????? — Baishali Chowdhury (@baishali_94) November 11, 2021All the players in the list be like pic.twitter.com/Pm1CpR287d — the noicee guy (@the_noicee_guy) November 11, 2021 pic.twitter.com/kPGL9UTAcc — Krishna (@Krishna77014160) November 11, 2021 However, we must give credit where it is due. Pakistani skipper Babar Azam did manage to score 2500 in the least number of innings (62), while beating Virat Kohli’s previous record of 68 innings followed by Aaron Finch (78), and Martin Guptill (83). View the full article
  13. Chennai Super Kings defeated Kolkata Knight Riders to lift their fourth IPL championship on Friday. While cricket is a team sport, Indian social media feels that there was one person who should be crowned the real champion - Cheteshwar Pujara. The 33-year-old, who is known to be one of India’s leading Test cricket veterans, was mocked ahead of the 2021 season when he drafted himself for the auction for Rs 50 lakh. While all the teams passed on him, it was CSK who raised their placard and got the batter on board. What do you make of the applause in the #IPLAuction room after CSK got Cheteshwar Pujara?pic.twitter.com/5oto85RCZt — CricketNext (@cricketnext) February 18, 2021 Even before the tournament had begun, fans, critics, and analysts knew that there was no way that Pujara would get to appear in the Playing XI in any of the CSK matches, no matter how many players got injured in their dressing room. To be fair, that’s exactly what happened as well. Pujara did not get to play even a single ball throughout the first or second leg of the tournament in India and the UAE, respectively. However, when the last delivery of the final match was bowled, he was as much an IPL champion as his skipper MS Dhoni was. View this post on Instagram Obviously, it was a big deal in the Indian cricket community, especially because some of the biggest names in the industry, who are known for their hard-hitting, fast-paced batting styles such as Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Chris Gayle are yet to win their first IPL championship. It did not take long for the trolls to realise that Pujara had won the trophy before any of the aforementioned names and the fun ride began all over the internet: Chesteshwar Pujara will have a IPL champion medal before the likes of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and so many good T20 players — Ankit Mishra (@editedidea) October 15, 2021Wait Pujara has more IPL titles than Kohli now pic.twitter.com/7TApEK9GOr — Inqiad Bin Ali (@AliInqiad) October 15, 2021@cheteshwar1 Pujara has won more IPL’s than Kohli #CSKvsKKR #IPLFinal #IPL2021 — Varun (@UAPvarun) October 15, 2021So now even Pujara has an Ipl trophy but Kohli don't ,,, Kohli ;;; pic.twitter.com/0hOhP6XT1J — Arpit Patel (@Arpitpatel1999) October 15, 2021Who would have thought that Cheteshwar #Pujara would be an IPL champion before #ViratKohli !#IPL2021 — Swami (@imswami) October 15, 2021It goes without saying that the T20 comparisons between Pujara with Kohli and de Villiers aren’t actually serious but the fact that even someone who is specifically infamous for not being able to score runs in a hurry is an IPL champion ahead of these RCB players, simply goes on to show the misfortune of the latter. View the full article
  14. Cheteshwar Pujara, who was in the firing line for his poor performance, came to India’s rescue when they needed him the most. The hosts had taken a mammoth first innings lead in the ongoing third Test at Headingley and KL Rahul was back in the hut after consuming 54 balls for his eight runs. © Twitter/BCCI With plenty of talks happening around his spot in the Playing XI, Pujara walked into the middle and batted with a different approach. A player who had faced criticism for spending time in the middle and not scoring enough runs, Pujara, in a way, counter-attacked, although not in the same manner we are used to seeing in the limited-overs cricket, and forced England bowlers to ball in the areas that he wanted. That's a 50-run partnership between @cheteshwar1 & @imVkohli Live - https://t.co/FChN8SV3VR #ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/Z7zrlLuLNC — BCCI (@BCCI) August 27, 2021 Of all the Indian players who turned up to bat on Day 3, Pujara’s strike rate was the best, with him scoring runs every second ball that he faced. It’s hard to remember the last time we saw that. He finished the day at unbeaten 91 off 180 balls and needed nine more runs to score his first century since January, 2019. While Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli also chipped in with crucial runs and contributed significantly to the partnerships, Pujara was the shining star for India on Friday. © Twitter/VVS Laxman While a lot has been said about Pujara’s lean patch all this while, the team management never had any doubts about his quality. When asked about the same after stumps on Day 3, Rohit said these have only happened on the outside and not a single conversation has taken place inside the dressing room regarding Pujara’s form. © Twitter/BCCI “To be honest there hasn’t been any talk about Pujara’s batting. I think the talks are only happening outside. Not a single conversation has happened with Pujara regarding his form inside the team dressing room. We know the quality he brings, we know the experience he brings to the table. When you have a guy like that, I don’t think there needs to be much discussion,” Rohit said in the press-conference after the end of third day’s play in Leeds. “If you talk about his recent performance, yes, I mean, he has not scored runs but we saw a crucial partnership between him and Ajinkya at Lord’s. Not to forget what he did in Australia. Those were crucial innings for us winning that historic Test series in Australia. Sometimes, we tend to forget, our memories are a little bit short,” he added. © Twitter/VVS Laxman Ask any batsman and he will tell you that England is perhaps the toughest place to tour because the conditions here keep changing. Apart from the surface, the weather also plays an important role and nobody knows how quickly things could change. Looking at the grass-less surface, Kohli thought it would be a batting paradise, hence decided to bat after winning the toss but the conditions helped the bowlers a great deal, at least for the first two sessions on the opening day. © Reuters Pujara might have answered his critics with this knock but his job is far from done, especially with India still trailing England by 139 runs and we would hope he scores a big one. View the full article
  15. A middle-order comprising Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane is enough to instil fear in the eyes of any opposition in world cricket. What once used to be Team India’s biggest strength has now turned into its biggest liabilities. India’s fab-trio has been struggling for quite some time now, especially since January 2000, but we never saw experts raising questions over their techniques. However, now, the similar manner in which they are getting out match after match has started to suggest they are lacking confidence © Reuters If someone had told us that Kohli would go without scoring a century for nearly two years, most of us would have fallen laughing our hearts out because back then, he was crossing three-figure marks for fun. However, his dry phase has stretched for far too long and the frailties in his technique have become a cause of concern for the whole team. Since the start of 2020, Kohli has scored only 387 runs at an average of 24.19 in 16 innings, while Pujara and Rahane have fared a little better, scoring 552 and 541 runs at just over 25. Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have a combined Test average of 25.03 since the start of 2020, with just a between them #ENGvIND — ESPN India (@ESPNIndia) August 14, 2021 A close look at the stats and you would know all three of them are going through a rough patch. However, what’s astonishing is that only two of them -- Pujara and Rahane -- are facing the brunt, while the Indian skipper is getting a 'free pass' despite riding in the same boat as them for over a year now. It's so crazy that only Rahane and Pujara needs to perform. Kohli getting free pass. Yes,he scored 42 runs but wasn't convincing enough. https://t.co/ih7uhhHtFk — Shubham (@Im_Shubham5) August 13, 2021Meanwhile, Kohli will keep getting a free pass despite being finished for two years just because he’s the “captain” and the “coach” is his butler. — Rohan (@rohanck31) August 12, 2021Kohli has scored the least number of runs for India in Tests since 2020. But he is conveniently left out of discussion when it comes to middle-order being out of form. Pujara, Kohli and Rahane are struggling. But Pujara and Rahane are the ones under pressure. — Venkata Krishna B (@venkatatweets) August 13, 2021When will Pujara and Rahane score again? AND when will Virat score a 100 again? — Sohini (@Mittermaniac) August 13, 2021Indian cricket loves Pujara and Rahane. But this blowing hot & cold is starting to hurt any advantageous position the openers provide. Add to it Virat Kohli's uncertain form. A change is coming soon. You can just see it. #EngvInd — Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) August 13, 2021Not just Pujara and Rahane, even Kohli needs some big scores under his belt. Also, like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, Kohli among batting greats who does not have a century at Lord’s. — Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) August 12, 2021 Not just fans, even batting legend Sunil Gavaskar agrees that while all three of them have batted poorly in the last year or so, only Rahane and Pujara are facing all the heat because they are “low-profile cricketers”. The ‘Little Master’ feels that people are making them the scapegoat for India’s middle-order worries because they are easy to target. Gavaskar even reminded that Rahane was India’s top-scorer in the first innings of the World Test Championship final, when most of our batters failed but his knock has been completely forgotten. © Reuters “He was the highest run-scorer for India at the WTC final with 49. So, nobody else has scored runs in this period, to be honest, but questions have been asked only about two cricketers. They are low-profile cricketers. They are not going to rip their shirt off and create a scene (if they are dropped),” Gavaskar said on Sony Pictures Sports Network. There is no denying that all three of them are class cricketers and have been vital to India’s success in the longest format both home and away. So, instead of losing our patience we must show confidence in them and hope that they regain their touch and help the team in the coming matches View the full article
  16. Day 1 of the second Test between England and India didn’t seem to do any favours for off-form batsman Cheteshwar Pujara who once again had to return back to the pavilion with a disappointing score off his bat. Having played 23 deliveries, the one-down batter managed to put up just nine runs on the board before it was the notorious James Anderson who managed to read him like a book and did a two-ball experiment which turned out to be successful. View this post on Instagram On the penultimate ball of the 50th over, Anderson tested the waters with a hefty inswinger which left the batsman startled. Doubtful of what would happen on the next delivery, he makes the mistake of pushing out and giving up an outer edge. Travelling to the third slip and into the very capable hands of Jonny Bairstow, the ball to end Pujara’s innings was delivered. This is when the fans of the Indian cricket team and those of the former Indian skipper and red-ball cricket master, Rahul Dravid, hopped on the internet to put an end to all the comparisons that take place between Dravid and Pujara. It seems like Pujara was never a good technical batter like Dravid. He just knows how to block the balls which can be easily driven for four. — The Cricket Statistician (@CricketSatire) August 12, 2021 Pujara only has the temperament of Dravid. Technically and range of shots wise, they are no way close. Dravid had all the shots in the book - cuts, drives, pulls, glances played off both foot and on both sides of the wicket. https://t.co/JtCoDOPl3o — Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (@wildcardgyan) August 12, 2021 Pujara comes.. Pujara struggles.. Pujara edges.. Pujara goes.. 2 minutes of silence to those who calls him as the replacement of 'The Great wall - Rahul Dravid' #ENGvIND — Pacchi (@prashanth_lc) August 12, 2021 Aisa paap lagega na pujara ko dravid se compare karne ka — avinab (@avinab16) August 12, 2021 Lol. Dravid is one of the best to have ever played the game. Pujara on his best day was Manjrekar on steroids. — Rohit G Banawlikar (@RohitBanawlikar) August 12, 2021 Ever since India won the incredible Test series in Australia - a series Pujara continues to consider one of his finest tours in International cricket, his performance with the bat has been subpar. Following the disappointment Pujara brought to the team during the World Test Championship finals, his position in the Playing XI became a major talking point, especially after skipper Virat Kohli spoke about bringing an overhaul to the team and bringing in people with the right attitude. “You have to reassess and replan and understand what dynamics work for the team and how we can be fearless. Bring in right people who have right mindset to perform,” Kohli had said after losing the WTC final to New Zealand. “We definitely need to work out better plans on understanding how to score runs. We have to stay in sync with the momentum of the game and not let the game drift away too much. I don’t think there are any technical difficulties as such,” he asserted. View this post on Instagram “It’s more down to game awareness and being more brave in putting bowlers under pressure and not allowing them to bowl in similar areas for longer periods of time unless it is absolutely overcast and ball swinging all over the place like it happened on day 1,” he added. View the full article
  17. With the first of five Test matches between India and England starting from Wednesday at Trent Bridge, former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar has launched another speculation against Virat Kohli’s team and the dangerous position in which batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane may find themselves in, in the days to come. In an interview with The Times of India, Gavaskar has addressed the possibility of a “whisper campaign” being set into motion after Rahane, who is also the vice-captain of the Indian Test squad. On the other hand, Pujara’s name is being dragged into the who controversy, just to cover up Rahane as the “real target”. View this post on Instagram “It’s unfair on these two players. They have put their bodies and hearts on the line for the Indian cricket team for years and particularly the last six months. In my view, a whispering campaign has been started against Rahane and Pujara,” Gavaskar explains the oddity in which Rahane and Pujara are finding themselves ahead of the England series. “Tell me who else has scored consistently in the last six-eight months. The real target is Rahane. Pujara’s name has been bandied about just to make sure that this whisper campaign is not thought of as if it is only directed at Rahane,” he further speculates how Pujara may just be used as a pawn, while Rahane faces the real heat. View this post on Instagram “I would tell all these people to think Rahane as an asset and not a threat. It’s happening the other way around. You know what I mean by that. He is not a threat for those who have started this campaign,” the India legend hints at the people who may have started the campaign against the deputy in-command. “He scored a hundred right after India were all out for 36 (in Australia). He gave the momentum at Gabba chase as well. He got a half-century on pitches where the ball was turning in India against England. In WTC final, he was out top scorer. Suddenly, questions are raised on these two. What is the aim behind this is what is needed to be looked at.” "Need to bring in right people with right mindset." Virat Kohli hints at overhaul of Test side after India lost the WTC final. READ: https://t.co/r9KlaGwlqO#INDvsNZ #WTCFinal #ViratKohli pic.twitter.com/t8XUkinBeD — The Times Of India (@timesofindia) June 24, 2021After losing the World Test Championship final to New Zealand in a terrible fashion, Virat Kohli had suggested an overhaul in the red-ball squad for Team India. “You have to reassess and replan and understand what dynamics work for the team and how we can be fearless. Bring in right people who have right mindset to perform,” the skipper had said. View the full article
  18. One factor that every Team India fan, be it a supporter or a critic, would agree to, was the batting conditions being extremely difficult at least until the Reserve Day of the World Test Championship final at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl arena. Constant rain and the windy weather made it extremely difficult for the batters to look for those non-deviating balls to go for the big shots. The cloud overcast for the better half of the day made it rather difficult to see and the added help to the swing wasn’t making things any easier. View this post on Instagram As a result, none of the members of the Indian cricket team were able to hit the 50-run mark in either of the innings while some of the most well-known, and established batsmen struggled to even cross the 20-run threshold. Still somehow, all the blame for the collapse of the Indian batting lineup has ended up falling on the shoulders of top-order batsman of the squad, Cheteshwar Pujara, who made 15 and 8 runs in the first and second innings, respectively. View this post on Instagram In a conversation with Sports Tak, former Indian captain and all-time great Sunil Gavaskar defended Pujara and protested all the hate that was coming toward the 33-year old. “Forget about India, look at the way New Zealand batsmen like Kane Williamson, Devon Conway and even Ross Taylor started their innings. They were also slow at the beginning just like Pujara. Now if you still want to point a finger at him, then we can’t really do anything about it,” Gavaskar said with a straight face. “He (Pujara) is one of those guys, whose solidity allows the players on the other end of the pitch to comfortably play the big strokes, knowing that at least one side of the partnership is being held by Cheteshwar Pujara.” A lot of this negative focus also has to do with what Team captain, Virat Kohli said after losing the final, in the press conference. "We will not wait for a year or so and have to plan ahead. If you see our white-ball team now, we have great depth and guys are ready and confident. The same thing needs to be done with Test cricket,” Kohli said while teasing the speculations of a major overhaul of the Indian Test squad. "You have to reassess and replan and understand what dynamics work for the team and how we can be fearless. Bring in (the) right people who have (the) right mindset to perform," the skipper added. A day after the conference, a BCCI official told The Times of India, that in the upcoming Test series against England, Kohli will be experimenting at the number three position while bringing in either KL Rahul or Hanuma Vihari to place at 4 instead of him. This would inevitably lead to Pujara’s ouster from the squad. View the full article
  19. With just about a week left ahead of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League, news of Josh Hazlewood withdrawing his name from the tournament this year was made public by cricket.com.au via their Twitter handle. Exclusive: Josh Hazlewood has withdrawn from his #IPL stint with @ChennaiIPL & hopes to be playing the #SheffieldShield final in a fortnight | @samuelfez https://t.co/y9ZcYGH6li pic.twitter.com/d3fcALQPyv — cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) March 31, 2021 "It's been a long 10 months in bubbles and quarantine at different times, so I decided to have a rest from cricket and spend some time at home and in Australia in the next two months," Hazlewood told cricket.com.au on Wednesday. "We've got a big winter ahead too. The West Indies is going to be a long tour, with Bangladesh (T20 tour) potentially thrown on the end of that." "Then potentially the T20 World Cup leading into the Ashes, so it's a big 12 months, as it always is with Australia, and I want to give myself the best chance to be mentally and physically ready for that,” he added. "That's the decision I've made, and it sits pretty well with me." View this post on Instagram The pacer’s departure from the tournament is definitely a big blow Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings squad that struggled significantly during IPL 2020 which was held in United Arab Emirates, and was looking to have a huge comeback this year, especially because it might just be the swansong for the skipper. And while Hazlewood’s decision to ‘sit this one out’ feels practical and beneficial for the cricketer himself, fans of the CSK franchise and those of Cheteshwar Pujara (Hazlewood’s CSK teammate this year) feel that the ‘real reason’ is something different altogether: Was obvious. Especially after saying so much about pujara like he can't stand the look of him and what not, how could hebowl to. Him at the nets. Was just a matter of time, I hope he never gets picked in the IPL ever again. — Arpan (@ThatCricketHead) April 1, 2021He will go mad if he bowls to Pujara again at the nets, hence good decision — Sam (@sam9192) March 31, 2021Josh Hazelwood is tired of bowling to Pujara in the nets — Dharmesh (@Mumbaiikar) March 31, 2021Now who will bowl at Pujara in the nets ? Also I feel INR 2 crores was way too less for him to consider the job as it comes with so many challenges including the bio bubble and playing the best players in the world. — Dhumketu (@dhumketu101) April 1, 2021The Pujara-Hazlewood banter originates from the 2020-21 Border Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia Down Under when the bowler got frustrated with the Indian red-ball veteran and started mouthing off to him in the middle of the game. On the final day of the historic Gabba Test, the pace-man was visibly angry with Pujara and even delivered a bouncer aimed for his head moments after was he stopped in the middle of his run-up as a butterfly distracted the Indian batsman. The ball after Pujara pulls away at the final second because of a butterfly, Hazlewood asks if his vision was still impaired. Caring stuff from the big quick pic.twitter.com/e48z1xd6dd — Nick Toovey (@OneTooves) January 19, 2021 Nonetheless, as international cricket continues to march forward, adapting itself to the coronavirus pandemic, signs of exhaustion from players who’ve spents months in quarantine, have finally began to emerge. Team India skipper Virat Kohli also spoke about the need for bringing about changes in the team’s schedule for the sake of the players’ mental health. View this post on Instagram "As I said, a couple of days ago as well, scheduling is something that needs to be looked at in the future," Kohli had said during the post-match ceremony after the third and final ODI against England in Pune. "Because playing in bubbles for so long, two-three months is going to be very, very difficult going forward." "You can't expect everyone to be at the same level of mental strength… Sometimes you do get cooked, and you do feel like a bit of change. I'm sure that things will be discussed and things will change in the future as well," the skipper added. View the full article
  20. Cheteshwar Pujara’s natural gameplay, his ability to patiently defend one ball after another, not scoring a single run for overs, and sticking to one side of the pitch to ensure wicket-safety to his batting partner makes him one of the best batsmen for the Men in Blue as far as red-ball cricket is concerned. Ironically, it also makes him one of the last people Team India would look towards in the shorter formats of the game when the batsmen are required to score at a higher rate given the limited numbers of balls they get to face. View this post on Instagram This is the only reason why the Test veteran of 85 matches in the longest format of the game has played in only five One Day Internationals and no T20I matches for the national squad. In the Indian Premier League, Pujara has been a part of just 30 matches, in which he has batted just 22 times between 2010 and 2014. It was therefore a surprising yet overjoyed moment for the fans of the Indian cricket team when the team-owners of Chennai Super Kings nodded for Cheteshwar Pujara’s Rs. 50 lakh bid during the mini-auction ahead of the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League, bringing him back to the marquee tournament after seven long years. Pujara has reached Mumbai ahead of IPL 2021 - CSK boys are getting ready for the summer. pic.twitter.com/kR85bzqR3G — Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) March 22, 2021 And while some fans were happy to see the second most successful franchise of the league showing faith in the batting expert, others are worried that in the hopes of becoming a bigger part of the lucrative tournament, Pujara might end up compromising his technique which makes him India’s most dependable weapon in Test cricket. This feeling got amplified when the Rajkot-born made it to Mumbai for practice and prepare himself before the league kick-starts from 9th April 2021. He is wasting his time. Concentrate on 6 Tests coming up in England. In PSL even Champions Trophy hero who made 50s in semi final and final in Azhar Ali doesn't play or World Cup hero Haris Sohail who was MOM vs SA in 2019 World Cup or quickest to 200 Test wickets in Yasir Shah. — Reliable Grinder (@mywords2tweet) March 22, 2021 He should not disturb his test technique for IPL. .. — The Demon (@HarshalR9) March 22, 2021 CSK’s IPL 2021 campaign will begin from 10th April as they go toe-to-toe against the previous season’s runners-up Delhi Capitals at the iconic Wankhede Stadium with no fans allowed to be in attendance. It remains unclear whether Pujara will find a spot in the Playing XI as the decision rests in the hands of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. View the full article
  21. The entire auction room started applauding when the team owners of the Chennai Super Kings raised their placard to bid for Indian Test match veteran Cheteshwar Pujara and got him on-board without any contest from the rest of the seven franchises. What do you make of the applause in the #IPLAuction room after CSK got Cheteshwar Pujara?pic.twitter.com/5oto85RCZt — CricketNext (@cricketnext) February 18, 2021 The applause was a moment of respect for everything the 33-year old has done for the Indian cricket team, how for instance, he put his body on the line during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series in Australia and ensured that India will win the series, despite struggling to form a decent Playing XI roster. While none of the people present in the room spoke about the moment, everyone already knew that all the cheering and clapping were genuine. After getting picked by the MS Dhoni-led squad, Pujara and his 2-year old daughter Aditi thanked the franchise and the fans for “showing the faith”: A cute yellovely message from the legend of Che Pu to make your day super! @cheteshwar1 #WhistlePodu #Yellove pic.twitter.com/eZZ4CXDevA — Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) February 19, 2021 CSK fans and those of the ‘Wall 2.0’ were rallied behind the team’s decision of get the batsman and reacted wholeheartedly: Can't wait to see you in #yellove Puji 🥳 pic.twitter.com/2ITvqpWSDV — Junaid MSDian © (@junaid_csk_7) February 19, 2021 Waiting eagerly to See you Soon at Fast Gears pujji Sir@cheteshwar1 — Jaganathan S (@Jaganat08630476) February 19, 2021 I am so looking forward to seeing Pujara shape the CSK youngsters and if possible a few cracking innings from him as well. Explosive hitting is not everything, Pujara adds a lot to the team especially teaching everyone how to maintain mental fortitude. Keep shining! — Aditya Singh Rawat (@Catslayer_999) February 19, 2021 Waiting for your super innings King It's time to prove that "wall" can become "Storm" too when needed. ️➡️️ pic.twitter.com/29nyx6EmtU — MSD fan (@MSDfan03662100) February 19, 2021 Ahead of the auction, when the news broke out that Pujara had also applied to get the opportunity to play in the most lucrative T20 league in the world, and had set his base-price at Rs. 50 lakh, most were unsure that he would go unsold. The notion was understandable too, as Pujara is probably the last person a franchise would wish to put their money on, especially when the league requires batsmen to score in boundaries from the very first ball they face, while the Rajkot-born is famous for being able to play 20-30 deliveries without scoring a single run. Hanuma Vihari (Rs 1 crore) and Cheteshwar Pujara (Rs 50 lakh) have registered for IPL 2021 Auction.#iplauction2021 — Dkwala (@Dkwala2) February 6, 2021 It is also the reason why Pujara is the top-choice for India skipper Virat Kohli when it comes to playing in the longest format of the game but also why he has not played a single limited-over match for the national team since 2014. As far as the Indian Premier League is concerned, Pujara will be making his return to the tournament after a gap of six years. Between 2010 and 2014, Pujara had played in a total of 30 matches while scoring 390 runs in 22 innings, with a strike rate of 99.7. His IPL highest is 51 which he scored against Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) back in May 2013. View the full article
  22. The final day of the fourth Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia looked and felt like a battlefield for the Indian batsmen, especially Cheteshwar Pujara who suffered at least a dozen blows to his body while batting at the Brisbane Cricket Ground. With the mindset of winning the Gabba Test and snatching away the trophy from the hands of the touring Men in Blue, Josh Hazlewood and Co. were clearly in no mood to give our batsmen any breathing space. The ball after Pujara pulls away at the final second because of a butterfly, Hazlewood asks if his vision was still impaired. Caring stuff from the big quick pic.twitter.com/e48z1xd6dd — Nick Toovey (@OneTooves) January 19, 2021 Bouncers, beamers and bodylining their opponents, the Australian bowling attack, which is amongst the deadliest in the world, had Pujara fall on the ground in pain, stunned by hits to the head and fixing his broken helmet throughout his time on the pitch. TV commentators, digital journalists and fans from all over the world were in absolute shock as they watched Pujara endure all the hits and Hazlewood’s sledging under pressure and calmly defend one ball after another while holding the bat with just four fingers. Ah Pujara! How the HELL is he still standing??? #AUSvIND — Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) January 19, 2021 In an interview with Hindustan Times , Pujara revisited all the injuries from the day. “The first one hit me just below my shoulder. There was one on the ribs. And one more from [Josh] Hazlewood below the shoulder again. That's when it started hurting a bit more because it was the same place.” But the one which made the composed giant fall on his knees came after the 125th ball he faced. Ouch! Pujara rips his glove off after copping one flush on the glove! Live #AUSvIND: https://t.co/qvYTMSiZsl pic.twitter.com/xXLuC0jcEa — cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 19, 2021 “The most painful one was the ball that hit my finger, because I had already got hit on that finger during practice in Melbourne and had played the Sydney Test with that little bit of pain. I was a little concerned before the game started in Sydney, but things went really well. But the moment I got hit there again in Brisbane, I was in a lot of pain. I thought I had broken my finger.” Even then, the 33-year-old held his ground, scored a remarkable 56 off 211 agonising deliveries and made sure that Finisher Rishabh Pant was well set to drive the team to victory before he was finally trapped by ‘Man of the Series’ Pat Cummins on an LBW appeal in the 81st over. “If I'm a boxer, I want to see how much another player can punch me. Once he is done, that's when I want to start punching back. That is my game plan. You can punch me as long as you can. Then I'll show my punches. That is how I planned it,” said the Test veteran. View the full article
  23. Once again, Ravichandran Ashwin proved why he continues to be the top choice as an all-rounder for the Indian cricket team in Test cricket during the epic 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia. His performance with the ball in the first two matches and a rigid stint with the bat in the second innings of the Sydney Test alongside Hanuma Vihari not only allowed his side the opportunity to win the series but also highlighted how good he can be as the last stand. © Twitter - Cricket Australia Ahead of the Test series against England at home, Ashwin has decided to spice things up a bit with the Men in Blue squad with a rather uncanny bet. He has declared that he will shave off half of his moustache if his teammate Cheteshwar Pujara goes “over the top” against any of the English spinners. While talking to Indian batting coach Vikram Rathour on his YouTube channel, the off-spinner asked Rathour: “Will we ever see Pujara hit an off-spinner over the top?” “Work-in-progress. I’m trying to convince him that at least once go over the top. He is still not convinced, He is giving me great reasons,” replied Rathour. Ashwin then presented an ‘open challenge’ to the Test veteran. Happy birthday to the rock of RAJKOT!#HappyBirthdayPujara pic.twitter.com/umNuDthHu8 — DK (@DineshKarthik) January 25, 2021 “If he (Pujara) goes over the top against Moeen Ali or any other spinner stepping down the wicket in this English series that we are going to play, I will take half my moustache out and come to play the game. This is an open challenge,” Ashwin added. “Because what happens is, every time an opponent like Nathan Lyon is bowling, Pujji makes it so heart throbbing for me. Every time the ball goes up in the air, I am like ‘You know what? Nobody plays like this man. You are making him look unplayable.’ And eventually, everybody will think that I’m not able to make the other batsmen bat like this,” Ashwin concluded. © Twitter - Cricket Australia During the four-match series in Australia, Pujara was the anchor for the Indian cricket team who not only allowed his fellow batsmen the opportunity to play the game with a lot more aggression whenever required, his patience and calmness under pressure led to some of the best bowlers in the world to get frustrated, including Josh Hazlewood. The true testament of Pujara’s sportsmanship was put on display during the second innings of the Brisbane Test during which he endured at least dozen brutal hits to his body but continued to bat through the pain. The Test series against England started from February 5 with the first match scheduled to take place at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. View the full article
  24. One of the greatest Test cricketers for Team India in the current era, Cheteshwar Pujara turns 33 years of age today and the entire cricketing fraternity of the country hopped online to wish the batsman on his birthday. However, it was Dinesh Karthik’s wish that stole the show and even made the birthday boy chuckle a bit. Happy birthday to the rock of RAJKOT!#HappyBirthdayPujara pic.twitter.com/umNuDthHu8 — DK (@DineshKarthik) January 25, 2021 Calling him the ‘Rock of Rajkot’, Karthik described Pujara’s incredible patience and unshaken focus that makes him one of the most frustrating batsmen in the world the bowlers have to face during the gruelling five-day Test matches. His ability to stick to the crease against even the most aggressive bowling attack out there and allowing the rest of Team India’s batting lineup for a long and successful innings has earned him the stature of ‘The Wall 2.0’ based on a similar play style of the legendary Rahul Dravid. Here’s how some of the other members of his squad wished him as well: Happy birthday pujji @cheteshwar1. Wish you good health, happiness and more hours at the crease . Have a great year ahead. — Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) January 25, 2021 The only 'common factor' in back to back series wins in Australia! #HappyBirthdayPujara You have proved to the new generation that not only quality of runs but spending quality time at crease is as important. Have a great year ahead #CheteshwarPujara @cheteshwar1 pic.twitter.com/dvQU08hdFc — R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) January 25, 2021 Happy birthday @cheteshwar1! They don't make them like you anymore. #HappyBirthdayPujara pic.twitter.com/DfUMVwWRNR — Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) January 25, 2021 He takes body blows Grinds it out in the middle Braves it all & stands tall 81 Tests 6111 runs 13572 balls faced 18 hundreds Here's wishing #TeamIndia's Mr. Dependable @cheteshwar1 a very happy birthday Let's relive one of his fine tons against Sri Lanka — BCCI (@BCCI) January 25, 2021 During India’s recently concluded Test series in Australia, Pujara played an extremely important role of anchoring a bruised and battered Indian cricket team over the four Test matches in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, respectively. However his most memorable innings of the tour came at the very end at The Gabba when he endured a total of 10 nasty hits all over his body, was clearly in immense pain but still somehow managed to stick to the crease and enable his partners to play aggressively. The ball after Pujara pulls away at the final second because of a butterfly, Hazlewood asks if his vision was still impaired. Caring stuff from the big quick pic.twitter.com/e48z1xd6dd — Nick Toovey (@OneTooves) January 19, 2021 In India’s second innings in the final Test, Pujara became a big-red target for the Australian pacers. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were unforgiving in delivering body-line bouncers and beamers despite the batsman’s discomfort. In the penultimate session of the day, a Hazlewood delivery even ended up breaking Pujara’s but instead of checking up on the health of the batter, the Aussie tried sledging him but his words fell on deaf ears as Pujara kept batting calmly. Ouch! Pujara rips his glove off after copping one flush on the glove! Live #AUSvIND: https://t.co/qvYTMSiZsl pic.twitter.com/xXLuC0jcEa — cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 19, 2021 Another incident saw the ball strike on the batsman’s finger, again bowled by Hazlewood. This time, Pujara instantly threw the bat away, removed his gloves and crashed on the ground in agonising pain. Over the years, the Gabba Test performance might be looked at as “the match in which Rishabh Pant established himself as a world-class batsman” but here’s hoping that Cheteshwar Pujara’s silent yet crucial contribution towards India’s winning cause doesn’t get overlooked. View the full article
  25. The final day of the Gabba Test at the Brisbane Cricket Ground continues to be ruthless to the limping Team India and this time around, it is the top order red-ball specialist, Cheteshwar Pujara who’ll have the bruises to show off at the end of the series. By the second session of Day 5 of the final Test alone, the veteran has already suffered at least three nasty blows to his head, including a bouncer by pacer Josh Hazlewood that ended up knocking off a piece of the batsman’s helmet. The ball after Pujara pulls away at the final second because of a butterfly, Hazlewood asks if his vision was still impaired. Caring stuff from the big quick pic.twitter.com/e48z1xd6dd — Nick Toovey (@OneTooves) January 19, 2021 This injury came only a couple of overs after Pujara found himself in agonising pain as yet another Hazlewood delivery struck him on the gloves and bounced off as if it had impacted against concrete. The 32-year-old instantly knew that something was wrong with his hand as he turned around, threw the bat on the ground, removed his helmet and gloves and crashed on the ground. Ouch! Pujara rips his glove off after copping one flush on the glove! Live #AUSvIND: https://t.co/qvYTMSiZsl pic.twitter.com/xXLuC0jcEa — cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 19, 2021 It is also being speculated that the injury could have been on the very same finger Pujara had hurt in the nets ahead of the Sydney Test that had fueled the conversation over his fitness to keep playing for the rest of the series. To be fair, the Australian bowlers are not a hundred percent to be blamed for all the injuries that the Indian batsman is incurring. If one needs to point a finger at someone or something, it has to be towards the massive cracks filling the Gabba pitch causing extremely uneven bounce, making it difficult for Pujara to predict the trajectory of the ball. The only explanation for Pujara getting hit this often is that he doesn't trust the bounce and hence is trying not to play with his bat. — MJ (@freehit_mj) January 19, 2021 Despite all the pain and the obvious jitters that come along with the strike that his body takes, Pujara has been a pillar of strength for the Men in Blue in the first two sessions of the final day. After 58 overs, his individual score read 43 off an 160 deliveries and is the anchor that’s holding Team India’s hopes of maybe even winning the series for the second consecutive time. Fans have acknowledged the brave cricketer’s contribution towards the team’s grind in keeping the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with themselves. Ah Pujara! How the HELL is he still standing??? #AUSvIND — Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) January 19, 2021So plan is Crystal clear. Pujara is standing like strong wall of Ambuja cement and other player will go for win if there is any chance to. #AUSvIND — Lalit Thakur (@lalitthakur41) January 19, 2021Always thought Pujara plays too slow.. but today this man fighting like a Tiger. Ball continuously hitting the body but #CheteshwarPujara standing like a solid wall. Playing for country. That determination in his eyes. Well done #Pujara. #AUSvIND — Paresh Rawal fan (@Babu_Bhaiyaa) January 19, 2021Pujara ️ Standing still. #AUSvsIND — Abhigyan (@o7gyan) January 19, 2021 View the full article
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