Kolkata: Cheteshwar Pujara's inclusion for the forthcoming Sri Lanka tour seems to be a daunting task for the selectors when Sandeep Patil & Co sit down in New Delhi tomorrow to pick the squad for the three-Test series starting August 12.
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Pujara lost his place in the playing XI after a poor showing in the England and Australia Test series, and has been struggling to regain his spot ever since.
Pujara's last half-century came at Adelaide in December 2014, while the last time the 27-year-old touched the three-figure mark was in November 2013 against West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium.
Once known for his unflappable defence, cracks seem to have appeared on 'The Wall'. Pujara headed to play county cricket in England as his contemporaries slugged it out in the Indian Premier League. His unbeaten 133 a couple of months ago for Yorkshire may have helped him regain some confidence back in his batting.
However, looking at the jam-packed batting department — Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, skipper Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha — Pujara is unlikely to make the playing XI even if the selectors somehow manage to accommodate the Saurashtra batsman in the squad.
The Indian think-tank is likely to play with four bowlers — two medium pacers and two spinners. Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin and Karn Sharma will form the spin department, while Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav will be part of the pace battery.
It willl be interesting to see if the selectors pick a pure batsman in Pujara or a wicketkeeper-batsman in Naman Ojha or a seaming all-rounder in Stuart Binny for the remaining two spots.