Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra said that senior batters Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are likely to get opportunities with the Indian team next year. On Saturday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced squads for Tests and T20Is for the upcoming bilateral series against Sri Lanka.
Rohit Sharma, who is the current captain of the limited-overs team, was named the Test captain of the team after Virat Kohli resigned from the role last month after a 2-1 series defeat to South Africa in their backyard. Rohit will lead the Indian team in all formats.
Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara dropped for the Sri Lanka Tests
Senior players like Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha and Ishant Sharma were dropped from the Test squad while youngsters like Shreyas Iyer, Shubman Gill, Priyank Panchal, Saurabh Kumar, Srikar Bharat found a place in the 18-member Indian Test squad.
It was inevitable for Rahane and Pujara to lose their spots on the Indian Test side after inconsistency with their batting performance for a long time. Pujara scored 602 runs at an average of 24.08 in 14 Test matches in the last one year, while Rahane made 460 runs in 13 Tests a 20.00 during the same period.
Not the end of the road for Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara: Aakash Chopra
Although Chetan Sharma, BCCI’s Chairman of the selectors, said the door is not closed for the senior duo, it is an arduous task for them to make a come back on the Indian Test side. Chopra is of the opinion that Pujara and Rahane will play next year as India play most of their matches on home turf. The former Indian player also said that the journey of Ishant and Saha is all but finished.
“Rahane and Pujara are not there. India has started moving in a slightly different direction. It’s not the end of the road but they are not part of the team as of now.
“It means they will have to go back to first-class cricket, score runs there and make an attempt to come back,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
“They will not come back this year, they can come back next year because this year all the series are in India except the one Test in England. So nothing is going to happen there. If you leave out such big players, you don’t bring them back in 15 days.
“Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha – I think that’s the finale. Both of them played a lot of cricket, played very well but when Kona Bharat and Rishabh Pant get selected and Wriddhiman Saha is not, I think that’s it,” he added.
India starts their bilateral series against Sri Lanka on February 24 with the three-match T20I series followed by a couple of Test matches, with the first Test scheduled to begin on March 4 in Mohali.
Also Read: IND vs SL: Chief Selector Chetan Sharma Reveals Why Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma And Wriddhiman Saha Are Not Included In India’s Squad For Sri Lanka Tests