'Team India is not ready for life after him': Manjrekar's colossal remark on 35-year-old star
The former India batter made a hug remark on the star batter, who has been one of the integral parts of the Indian Test team for many years.
Team India will return to action on June 7 when the side takes on Australia in the final of the World Test Championship at the Oval. The Indian team arrived in England in multiple groups owing to schedule differences in the Indian Premier League, but one member of the side who had been in England for many months was Cheteshwar Pujara. While almost all major Team India stars were playing in the IPL, Pujara had been leading Sussex in the County Championships, and producing consistent performances for the side.
This was Pujara's second-successive year at Sussex and according to former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar, the right-handed batter is the “most dependable” player in the Indian batting lineup. Manjrekar stated that India had played with Pujara in February last year (when the 35-year-old was dropped owing to poor outings); however, India's batting lineup didn't look convincing at the time, and Pujara eventually made a comeback in the side.
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“He has always played County cricket, whether India have a tour scheduled in England or not. Because there's T20 cricket going on in India at the time. He was dropped last year, and we saw how life after Pujara could be, and it wasn't that great. Today, Pujara is the most dependable player in the Indian lineup,” Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
“After he came back, I'm ready to accept that India is not ready for life after Pujara yet. They still need him,” said Manjrekar further.
This year, Pujara also played alongside Steve Smith at Sussex; the Aussie batter joined the County side to prepare for the WTC Final as well as the Ashes series, that takes place in England following the title clash against India.
Earlier this year, Pujara played his 100th Test for India during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The title clash at the World Test Championship is likely to see the return of another India veteran Ajinkya Rahane, who was called back into the Test squad after injury to Shreyas Iyer.