Zim series: Pujara should play instead of Raina

Cheteshwar Puajra has been vocal about his desire to play the limited-overs formats for India. He does not see himself simply as a Test cricketer and believes he has the shots to score quickly in ODIs. India’s tour of Zimbabwe then seemed like the best time to test Pujara’s claim. Pick him in the XI and find out what he can offer.

Except he hasn’t played either of the first two games, with Ambati Rayudu given his debut ahead of Pujara. Now there is a good argument for picking Rayudu too, but veteran cricket writer Ayaz Memon thinks India have missed a trick by not picking Pujara. He was also concerned that waiting to blood Pujara until after the series was won would put too much pressure on him because the focus would be on the individual and not the team.

 Zim series: Pujara should play instead of Raina

Cheteshwar Pujara needs to play now, says Ayaz Memon. AFP

According to him, India could have played Pujara in Raina’s place. “Raina’s credential as a 50-over cricketer does not need to be tested in Zimbabwe,” he said “That is silly … I would play Cheteshwar Pujara instead of Raina. Why not?”

Another option, suggested by Aakash Chopra during the telecast, was to try Pujara as an opener in place of Rohit. Memon thought it was worth a shot if India were looking for a back-up opener, but “the sooner you play Cheteshwar, the better.”

Memon also talked about Virat Kohli’s 15th ODI century and his hunger for the big score. Some have claimed Kohli is a flat-track bully but India has won 14 of the 15 games in which he has made a hundred and Memon said Kohli’s growth curve is certainly upwards.

Watch the full discussion between Ayaz Memon and Firstpost Sports Editor Ashish Magotra in the video above and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.

Updated Date: Jul 26, 2013 16:47:40 IST