Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. Image Credits: Twitter

Former Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar feels the outside noise being created against the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane is unwarranted. He reckons they’ve been India’s most consistent batsmen in the last 6-8 months and deserve their respective spots on the Indian team.

The two are currently part of India’s Test squad that’s touring England for a 5-match Test series. It will signal the start of the 2021-23 cycle of the World Test Championship (WTC) as well. Prior to the first match, Sunil Gavaskar spoke in length to TOI about Pujara and Rahane’s form, the latter’s in particular.

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“It’s unfair on these two players. They have put their bodies and hearts on the line for Indian cricket for years and particularly the last six months. In my view, a whispering campaign has been started against Rahane and Pujara. Tell me who else has scored consistently in the last 6-8 months,” Gavaskar expressed.

“The real target is Rahane. I would tell all these people to think of Rahane as an asset and not a threat. It’s happening the other way around. He scored a 100 right after India was all-out for 36 (against Australia). He gave the momentum at Gabba chase as well. He got a half-century on pitches where the ball was turning. In WTC Final, he was our top scorer. But suddenly questions are being raised about these two.”

Sunil Gavaskar feels India missed a trick by not grooming Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

The 72-year-old went on to mention that India should have groomed Bhuvneshwar Kumar as a bowling all-rounder. Currently, India lacks a proper quick bowling all-rounder other than Hardik Pandya. And since Hardik suffered an injury that has slowed down his development in the bowling department, someone like Bhuvneshwar could have filled in smoothly, according to Gavaskar.

“Hardik has been invaluable when he was bowling. But it should not be that till he starts bowling, you shouldn’t look at anybody else. I am sure you will be able to find some seam-bowling all-rounders.

“We should have groomed Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He would never have been as destructive a batsman as Hardik but at Test match level, you need to play a holding innings,” Sunil Gavaskar opined.