Ashwin namedrops Pujara as 'certified legend' set to miss 1st Test on home turf | Cricket - Hindustan Times

Ravichandran Ashwin namedrops Cheteshwar Pujara as 'certified Indian legend' set to miss first Test on home turf

Feb 12, 2024 12:07 PM IST

Ravichandran Ashwin shared his expectations as India will play their first Test at Rajkot in which Cheteshwar Pujara won't be part of the Playing XI.

For the first time ever, India will play a Test match in Rajkot without Cheteshwar Pujara featuring in the Playing XI. Pujara was dropped from India's Test squad after last year's World Test Championship final, with the team management shaping Shubman Gill as the new No. 3 in Tests. Gill took some time but seems to have cemented himself at that position for now having struck a century in the 2nd Test at Visakhapatnam, and the man he's replaced, Pujara, is back to grinding it out in the Ranji Trophy.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara have played many Tests together for India(Getty)
Ravichandran Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara have played many Tests together for India(Getty)

Back playing domestic, Pujara is doing Pujara things. With 673 runs, Pujara is the fourth-highest run-getter of the ongoing season with an average of 74.77 including a highest of 243 not out against Jharkhand. However, with Pujara not playing on his home turf of the Saurashtra Cricket Stadium, Ravichandran Ashwin expects to see his former teammate to host Team India.

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"The Indian players have gone back home and will be reuniting for the next Test match in Rajkot. Rajkot is the home of Cheteshwar Pujara. A certified Indian legend who recently concluded his 100 Test matches. We'll be playing in his place. Ravindra Jadeja, Saurashtra. The Rajkot stadium is his home ground, but he is from Jamnagar. Let's wait and watch if Cheteshwar Pujara invites everyone to his home for dinner," Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.

India have played two Tests at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot, and Pujara has scored 228 runs at this venue at an average of 76, including one fifty and a century. In 2018, Pujara scored 106 in India's innings win over the West Indies, and had hit consecutive fifties – 65 and 66 – as Team India drew with England. In fact, it was during the five-Test series eight years ago that Pujara had invited the entire team at home for dinner.

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