India legend Sunil Gavaskar did not mince his words when it came to analysing the squad picked for the India tour of West Indies. In the Test side, the selectors of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chose to sack Cheteshwar Pujara due to his low returns in the ICC World Test Championship final (WTC 2023 Final). India lost the final for the second straight time and it was obvious that some changes would take place in the squad. Selectors decided to drop Pujara from the squad while bringing in new faces Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad in the mix, with an eye on the future.
Also Read | India Test Squad For West Indies: 7 Big Changes
While Jaiswal and Gaikwad’s selection makes sense as India also look to blood in aggressive batters in the Test side, like other teams as the nature of this format is changing, Gavaskar is upset with selectors for making Pujara the scapegoat. Not to forget, it was not just Pujara who performed poorly with the bat but even Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had sorry outings in the final.
India’s ODI Squad: Rohit Sharma (Capt), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Sanju Samson (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya (VC), Shardul Thakur, R Jadeja, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik, Mukesh_ pic.twitter.com/PGRexBAGFZ
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 23, 2023
NEWS – India’s squads for West Indies Tests and ODI series announced.
TEST Squad: Rohit Sharma (Capt), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ajinkya Rahane (VC), KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Mohd._ pic.twitter.com/w6IzLEhy63
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 23, 2023
Gavaskar slams selectors
Gavaskar feels that Pujara has been made the scapegoat for India’s failure in the WTC final while others continue to retain the spot. “Clearly, only one man has been singled out while others also failed. To me, the batting failed. Apart from Ajinkya Rahane, of course, in both innings, he got 89 and 46, nobody else really got runs,” Gavaskar told Sports Today.
Calling Pujara a loyal servant of Indian cricket, Gavakar said that only those who have massive fan following on social medi get to keep the place in the side. “Why is he [Cheteshwar Pujara] dropped then? Why is he being made the scapegoat for our batting failures? He has been a servant of Indian cricket, a loyal servant. Because he doesn’t have millions of followers on whatever platforms who would make a noise in case he gets dropped?,” he added.
Also Read | Yashasvi Jaiswal: Lived In Tents, Sold Panipuris, Now Part Of India’s Test Team For West Indies
‘Seniors hould have got break from Test cricket in World Cup year’
The former India captain said that in the World cup year, the selectors should have given the senior players a break from Test cricket. India play only 2 Tests until December this year. For Gavaskar, it makes no sense to play Rohit and Virat with the 50-over World Cup so near. “I would have personally wanted the big boys to be given a complete break from Test cricket. Only now, look at the 50-overs or the 20-overs formats. I would have wanted them to only look at the white ball and not look at the red ball at all. Give them a complete break. They will be playing non-stop for three-four months,: Gavaskar further said.