Cheteshwar Pujara finished as the third-highest run-scorer in Tests against England this year where he scored 278 runs from four matches. @ Getty Images
Cheteshwar Pujara finished as the third-highest run-scorer in Tests against England this year where he scored 278 runs from four matches. @ Getty Images

Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar said that India’s veteran batsman Cheteshwar Pujara could have been rested from the two-match Test series against West Indies to make way for young faces to join Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal.

Pujara finished as the third-highest run-scorer in Tests against England this year where he scored 278 runs from four matches, including a ton and a half-century. After returning to India, Pujara has also played three Vijay Hazare Trophy matches for Saurashtra where he has scored 31, 56 and an unbeaten 36.

“Indian cricket is now senior in age and in a very advantageous position with regards to its resources and the popularity of the sport. It’s almost incumbent on India to rule the cricketing world, which means that like West Indies and Australia did at their prime, India need to beat teams like South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia in their backyards,” Manjrekar wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.

“I wish India had done more with the selection of the team for the West Indies series, specifically with regards to their batting. I would have liked to see another senior batsman, like Cheteshwar Pujara, rested to have a look at one more fresh option, along with Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, to fill the batting holes that cost India the series in England,” he wrote.

Manjrekar asked if Indian cricket has gained anything by including Pujara, a run machine on Indian pitches. “Pujara will get a pile of runs against West Indies, like he always does at home. The more new batsmen you try, the better your chances of finding two new batting options with the potential to do well overseas,” he wrote.