March 3, 2024

News Saphire

Beyond The Headlines

“Harbhajan Singh Praises India’s Unsung Hero in Tests for Handling ‘Dirty Work’ While Taking an Indirect Dig at Virat Kohli”

Harbhajan Singh has recently praised Cheteshwar Pujara, recognizing him as an unsung hero who has played a vital role for the Indian cricket team over the years. Following India’s disappointing loss in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final, the team, now under the coaching of Rahul Dravid, has made some significant changes to the squad for the upcoming WTC cycle.

India has consistently reached the final of the prestigious tournament but has fallen short on both occasions. As they embark on their quest for a maiden WTC title, India will kick off with a Test series against the West Indies. In a bid to infuse young talent, India has handed maiden call-ups to Yashasvi Jaiswal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Mukesh Kumar, who have impressed with their performances in domestic cricket and for India A.

As part of the rejuvenation process, India has rested senior pacer Mohammed Shami, while Cheteshwar Pujara has been dropped from the Test squad. Pujara, who has been a steadfast No. 3 batter for India, had struggled in the WTC final against Australia, leading to his omission. With Pujara’s absence, India is expected to unveil a new No. 3 batter during the series in the Caribbean.

Harbhajan Singh, the former cricketer, has hailed Pujara as a pillar of strength for Team India, emphasizing his unsung contributions. Singh expressed his admiration for Pujara’s ability to endure the challenges, allowing other batsmen to find their comfort zone. He highlighted Pujara’s consistent dedication to doing the “dirty work” for the team.

Singh also called for greater respect towards Pujara, noting that the senior batter wasn’t the only one who underperformed in the WTC final. Apart from Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur, no other Indian batsman managed to surpass the 50-run mark in the crucial clash against Australia. Indirectly referencing Virat Kohli, who has also struggled in Test cricket, Harbhajan pointed out the similarities in averages between Pujara and Kohli during the last WTC cycle.

Singh emphasized the need to appreciate Pujara’s contribution and defended his strike rate, highlighting how his patient approach allows the team to preserve wickets. With 7,195 runs in 103 Test matches, Pujara has proven his worth in the Indian lineup. Harbhajan emphasized the importance of having a player like Pujara, particularly when playing in challenging overseas conditions, where a balanced approach and solid defense are crucial.

According to Harbhajan, it is essential to recognize the specific role each player fulfills in the team and acknowledge their contributions accordingly. He concluded by stating that, in his opinion, the team still needs Pujara and his traditional Test cricket approach, as not all batsmen can be aggressive stroke players at all times.