Former India player turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra believes Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s non-selection in the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England was expected. However, he also feels Rahane will remain in contention for a place in the team longer than Pujara. However, the selectors recently announced a 16-member Indian squad. Despite the Indian batters’ poor performances in the recent series against South Africa, neither Pujara nor Rahane got a recall as well.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra said: “The squad is along the expected lines. We had expected Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara not to be there. I feel that chapter is closed. If you didn’t pick them in South Africa, that was the last opportunity to pick them. If you didn’t pick them there, you are not going back to them. Ajinkya Rahane’s IPL career is alive, so he will stay relevant a little more because you become a part of the conversation whenever you do well in the IPL. It’s not important to play in Chennai. Playing for Chennai is important because Dhoni is there.”
However, Ajinkya Rahane earned an India recall for the World Test Championship (WTC) final and the two-match Test series against the West Indies based on his performances for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in IPL 2023. Although he did well in the WTC final, he was dropped for the South Africa series due to underwhelming performances against the Windies. Aakash Chopra also said that playing for India is not the only driving factor behind Cheteshwar Pujara’s scoring runs in first-class cricket, he loves to score.
“Pujara scored a double century last week. He is the saint of cricket. He will keep scoring because he does not score runs only for selection. Half the world scores runs for selection. He plays cricket just because he likes batting. He scores runs because he likes scoring runs. So Pujara will continue to score runs and break all records in first-class cricket. I think he has already scored 61 first-class centuries. He will make 100. He will not stop. He will not retire at all,” Aakash Chopra concluded.