India in Sri Lanka 2010

Yuvraj selection ahead of Pujara baffling - Whatmore

Cricinfo staff

July 14, 2010

Comments: 55 | Text size: A | A

Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on 47 as Saurashtra drew the match after following on, Tamil Nadu v Saurashtra, Ranji Trophy Super League, Group A, 4th round, 4th day, Chennai, December 4, 2007
Cheteshwar Pujara had a prolific tour of England with India A © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Series/Tournaments: India tour of Sri Lanka
Teams: India

Dav Whatmore, the Kolkata Knight Riders coach and the former director of coaching at India's National Cricket Academy, has questioned the selection of Yuvraj Singh in the Test squad against Sri Lanka ahead of batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who had a prolific run during the recently concluded A tour to England.

"The team surely has some finest Test match players. But, where is Cheteshwar Pujara? I personally think he is a must in the team, especially considering his form. Yuvraj Singh ahead of Pujara is completely baffling. This is just the right time to bring him in," Whatmore told PTI.

Pujara, who represents Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy, was also part of the Kolkata squad in the IPL supervised by Whatmore. He cracked an unbeaten 208 against West Indies A on the tour of England, and scored 332 runs in five limited-overs games as captain, averaging 83. In first-class cricket, Pujara, 22, averages 60.38 and has a triple-century to his name. He has been named Parthiv Patel's deputy for the upcoming Emerging Players' Tournament in Brisbane in August.

Yuvraj, however, has virtually cemented his position in the middle order for the first Test that begins on July 18, scoring a fluent century against Sri Lanka's Board President's XI in the tour game.

India are without Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth on the Sri Lankan tour - both are injured - and Whatmore expected a difficult time for the visitors in the three-match Test series. "Good players are always missed in the team. The key is how ready the playing XI is. Sri Lanka is a very formidable unit and it would be a tough contest for Dhoni and company."

Jaidev Unadkat, a left-arm seamer who Whatmore coached in the last IPL, is part of the Indian outfit in Sri Lanka as a net bowler. Whatmore said he needed more exposure in first-class cricket. "These are early days for him. But there is no doubt that he is a promising talent. Unadkat needs to play and concentrate in first-class matches. He holds a bright future."

The first Test will be Muttiah Muralitharan's last, and Whatmore, while acknowledging his absence would affect Sri Lanka, said they have some impressive reserves in the spin department. "Muralitharan is arguably the greatest spin bowler of the modern era. He was one man, who created a fear psychosis. For the first time ever, batsmen started fearing offspin bowling. Teams always had a specific plan against Murali. His retirement will create a huge hole.

"But Sri Lanka have the young talent. Suraj Randiv is a great offie and a future star. Ajantha Mendis has also troubled many teams and is definitely in Sri Lanka's scheme of things."

India, Whatmore said, are among the front-runners heading into the 2011 World Cup but urged the media to not put pressure on captain MS Dhoni. "Of course India can win the World Cup. But for that to happen, everything should fall in place. But the media have the habit of exaggerating things till it is too close for comfort. No one has the Midas touch. It is just that Dhoni is a wise captain and has a thinking head on his shoulders.

"But the media have added unnecessary pressure on him by branding him 'Captain Cool' and what not. After all, he is a human being. Gary [Kirsten] is a good coach and India has relatively performed well under his guidance."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Anant.Sonthalia on (July 19, 2010, 13:33 GMT)

I think that playing Yuvraj is the right move because he is a huge talent and needs time to get some form before the World Cup in which Yuvi will need be one of the leading performers for team India. But i think whatmore has got it spot on about the media as they put a massive amount of pressure on the player who is concerned.

Posted by   on (July 18, 2010, 12:07 GMT)

I personally liked the viewpoint from dave whatmore whatever he has said is 100% true regarding indian media, they are only pressure pointers for the indian cricket whenever there is a big event like world cup happens they unnecessarily start praising cricket as a godly figures & put peoples expectation in a skyward & there the fear cycos & pressure comes on the team of losing expectation, this happens unnecessarily from media & from fanatic fans. And when there is not much pressure team performs very well within themselves, for the team to need to win they need to enjoy there games within themselves without any fear loosing or win, its a basic human physcology, I hope in the coming WC people & media behaves sensible instead of making crap songs & making team to play under pressure.

Posted by amanroy on (July 18, 2010, 3:27 GMT)

@ usman_nile1994...I like your team selection. Long live India-Pak. :)

Posted by Bowler45 on (July 17, 2010, 16:48 GMT)

Cont.... The thing that most ppl on here don't seem to realize is that the R. Jadeja selection has a lot to do wit Pujara's misfortunes. I think BCCI will only pick frm small teams like Saurashtra, Orissa, Jharkhand etc.. like ones in every blue moon. I don't know what it is, the quota system or whatever the nonsense. I think since they selected Jadeja already frm. that team, Pujara is gonna have to wait a long time now, I hope my predictions are wrong though. Also, another theory could be that the way Jadeja has played they might be affraid to pick another player out of the same team. Either way Jadeja has done em in pretty good. Now BCCI will think twice before picking anyone frm the non-name teams like Saur. Thanks a lot Jadeja, for another screw up in the list of all others. Jadeja 100 Team India 0.

Posted by Bowler45 on (July 17, 2010, 16:28 GMT)

I don't know what more this guy has to do, maybe score a double century in the so called world-class competition called IPL or score another dozen more triple centuries in the first-class matches. And even after all this he might be selected in the 15 men squad to just be the towel boy. This is Indian cricket, and it's pathetic. In NZ, AUS, or even PAK this guy would've made his debut at the age of 17 prob. Point in case, Umar Ak, they let this guy debut at a young age and it's given him a heap of confidence to play in any condition against any bowlers in the world. The most important thing is the exposure, these young talents need to face the likes of the great Brett Lee, Tait, Steyns and many more. Until they don't get picked for the national team this can't happen and they are reduced to face the likes of RPs, Dindas and P.Kumars on the lifeless indian pitches. Umar only got his recon. after he played AUS in couple of tests, but after those he became fluent against any of the bowler

Posted by warneneverchuck on (July 17, 2010, 12:40 GMT)

Laxman is the most underrated indian player. Everytime he goes to bat he score atleast 50-60 runs.and when rare failure comes everybody start talking about replacement for laxman. Laxman is even younger than dravid, sachin.India needs laxman to play test for atleast another 2 years

Posted by rsurya on (July 17, 2010, 5:03 GMT)

Cricinfo, being a reputed cricket site you can make a seperate segment for the public to vote for their players who deserve a place in the squad instead of commenting. the total squad for any tournament can be selected by registered users and the players hit count should be listed. this can be presented in the home page itself. Let the selector hav a consideration to this even after some decades. the reason for every player shall be posted as comment. And it would be nice if any cricket professional gives his view on the poll periodically. This is my suggestion for my favorite cricinfo.

Posted by Srujan_Kumar on (July 16, 2010, 9:59 GMT)

Pujara, you will get call up next series against Australia!!!!!

Posted by absk on (July 16, 2010, 7:04 GMT)

Playing Yuvraj in this test makes every sense. He is very crucial to India's fortunes in this World Cup and it is necessary to give him a little time to regain his form. 20-20 cricket doesn't really give you time for that. An enormous talent that Yuvraj is, its a nice initiative to give his a well deserved chance. And looks like he is determined to play his part in this series as well.

We are building a team for World Cup, Pujara can wait till then.

Posted by rsurya on (July 16, 2010, 6:14 GMT)

Any team can win any team in the world but the team which has players selected for the only reason of selectors intuition can never make a cricket fan feel that his country has won it. Indian cricket is losing the hope of real fans everytime. Iam watching cricket only for sachin and will watch until he is playing, afterthat ill stop watching and there are crores of people like me in india.

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