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Cheteshwar Pujara’s exclusion from Asia Cup 2014 Match 2 against Bangladesh surprising

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Cheteshwar Pujara has all ingredients to excel in ODIs © Getty Images

India began their Asia Cup 2014 campaign on Wednesday with their opening clash against the hosts Bangladesh. While the team will be missing the experience of their key players in the 50-over format, the management continued to leave Cheteshwar Pujara out on the bench and selected Ambati Rayudu for the clash against Bangladesh at Fatullah. Certainly, Indian think-tank does not think much of Pujara’s future in limited-overs cricket. Devarchit Varma has more…

Planning and execution are critical elements of life. The same fundamental is of equal importance in cricket as well. Those who plan and execute well, reap the benefits of being the first-movers. In cricket, there have been innumerable instances where the planning process set up by cricket boards as well as team management has benefitted a team immensely. But at the same time, some of the cricket boards have been detrimental as well — several obnoxious decisions have not only harmed the team, but greater pain has been caused to players.

One can understand the abovementioned fundamental by this simple example: till a point of time every decision Cricket Australia (CA) took, it went against the team; the controversial rotation policy did no good to the team and to the players, and certainly the cricketers were the ones who suffered the most in terms of their confidence and morale.

Similar situation can be seen in Indian cricket today — someone as talented as Cheteshwar Pujara, who has been knocking on the doors for selection in the 50-over format for a very long time, is not only being denied chance to play One-Day International (ODI) cricket, but most importantly, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian team management seem to have no plan for him.

The Indian side minus Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, and Suresh Raina started its Asia Cup 2014 campaign on Wednesday against Bangladesh. Surprisingly, Pujara was ignored yet again while Ambati Rayudu got the nod. While there is no harm in selecting Rayudu or anyone else, but at this moment, Pujara’s case is stronger ahead of any other contender in the Indian side, especially in absence of the heavy weights.

The right-handed 26-year-old batsman, who averages more than 58 in Tests, is certainly a match-winner for India in the years to come. Pujara has the technique to play in all kinds of tracks and conditions, and also has the right temperament. By the look of it, there are not many negative points one can find in Pujara, but for no proper reason, he continues to be ignored for ODIs.

The ICC World Cup 2015 is less than a year away, and despite zeroing in on the core of the squad for the tournament, there are some areas of concern. In the batting department, Raina and Yuvraj’s struggle against short bowling and poor form has led to their axing. Dhoni himself believes giving at least 35-40 matches to any player in a build-up to any major tournament as the best practise, but none of them is getting it right now. Raina and Yuvraj have been axed and neither is Pujara in a comfortable position — in fact he doesn’t know when he will get his chance and how much time he will get to prepare for the World Cup in case he is selected.

Continuing to ignore Pujara for ODIs is indeed one of those detrimental steps, as the BCCI and national selectors seem not ready with a plan yet.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

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