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‘Told Them to Play Ranji Trophy’: Chetan Sharma’s Instructions to Rahane, Pujara Before Test Snub

The Indian selection committee, led by former pacer Chetan Sharma, on Saturday made a path-breaking decision. As they announced the 16-man squad for the upcoming Sri Lanka Tests at home, they snubbed the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma, and Wriddhimna Saha.

All four of them were under the scanner for a long time now. They were given enough chances to solidify their spot in the Indian team but a series of flop shows forced the selectors to look beyond them.

As it has been this committee’s policy, they will give Hanuma Vihari (replacement of Pujara) and Shubman Gill (replacement of Rahane) a full chance to settle in middle-order. After these two in pecking order comes Shreyas Iyer, who also needs to get a go.

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In the case of Ishant, the team management has identified two possible replacements – Prasidh Krishna and Avesh Khan while Kona Bharat with better batting skills and very competent glovework is way ahead of Saha and will get chances if Pant isn’t around.

While addressing a virtual press conference on Saturday, chief selector Chetan Sharma said the selection committee had a prior discussion with Rahane and Pujara and were informed about their axing for the Sri Lanka Tests.

“Selection committee after a long deliberation has come to this decision, we have spoken to them (Pujara and Rahane) earlier and we have told them that we will not consider them for the two matches against Sri Lanka,” Sharma said.

However, he tried to give some ray of hope that maybe after a good Ranji Trophy, they will get back.

“The doors are open for them. There is no problems and we told them to play Ranji Trophy and that is the best part on both of us that such senior cricketers are going and playing Ranji Trophy,” Sharma added.

Speaking about Wriddhiman Saha, the chief selector said, “Look, age isn’t something we give a lot of credence. On what grounds Wriddhi has been dropped, we can’t tell you.”

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“But there comes a time when you start thinking about youngsters when you don’t play for long. Also, I don’t know why Saha is not playing Ranji Trophy. That’s not my jurisdiction and that’s what state unit must look into,” the World Cup hat-trick man said.

If one looks at the Indian team’s Test calendar for the year 2022, there is hardly any chance for these four of making a comeback. There are two Tests versus Sri Lanka, one in England and two against Bangladesh in 2022 and early 2023, India hosts Australia at home for four Tests.

(With PTI Inputs)

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