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Dhoni cannot duck the Pujara question

When Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team sheet for the final one-day international against England in Dharamsala yesterday didn’t include the name of Cheteshwar Pujara, it provided yet another example of how ridiculous Indian cricket can be at times.

Sandeep Patil’s selection committee picked Pujara in the squad only to discover that the in-form Saurashtra batsman is totally ignored by the team management even as his state team is struggling without his services in the ongoing Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai.

The fact that Pujara has been picked for the series means that he is good enough to be in the XI. And if he was never going to feature in the playing XI, why didn’t the BCCI/team management not send him to be part of the Ranji Trophy final?

Dhoni has a lot to answer for and although the selection committee cannot have the final say in the playing XI, chairman Patil must seek answers. Niranjan Shah, the president of the Saurashtra Cricket Association and the senior-most cricket official under the Board of Control for Cricket in India banner, ought to be speaking his mind in the next BCCI meeting he attends.

One, it will be refreshing to hear an official taking on his brethren. Two, and most critically, it’s only the right thing to do. That India still ended up losing to England is another matter. The 3-2 margin highlights that captain Dhoni doesn’t deserve to be viewed as Mr Irreplaceable by his bosses in the establishment.

As for Saurashtra’s opponents Mumbai, a 40th Ranji Trophy title is on the cards. But don’t forget to remember that Saurashtra didn’t have their best batsman playing for them. He was warming the reserve bench for India.

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