Red-ball specialist batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were not added in India’s squad for the impending two-match Test series against Sri Lanka. However, India captain Rohit Sharma has said that the team management still sees them in the national colours in the coming days.
India captain Rohit Sharma will begin his captaincy tenure in the red-ball cricket with the first of the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, starting from March 4 in Mohali.
During the virtual pre-match press conference, Rohit was asked if Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, India’s season campaigners who were not picked for the Sri Lanka Test series, will feature again for the country in the future. Rohit, without any hesitation, confirmed that the magnificent duo still remains in the team's 'future plans', and also added that it will not be easy to fill their shoes.
"Look, Rahane and Pujara are big shoes to fill, it will never be easy for whoever comes in, even I do not know who is going to come in for Rahane and Pujara honestly. Look, at what Pujara and Rahane have done for this team, you cannot put it out in words, all these years of hard work and playing 80-90 odd Tests, all those overseas Test wins. India getting to No.1 in Tests, these guys helped us in that situation and they have played a big part in that,” Rohit replied after ANI’s query.
"There is no way that these guys would not be looked upon in the future, they will be in our plans. Like the selector also said, it is just for now that we did not consider them. There is nothing written about them not being considered for the series later on," he added.
When asked about his preferred opening partner in the absence of KL Rahul, Rohit answered that the team will take a call regarding it after analyzing everything.
"I am a captain, I'll prefer everyone to be in the team. We will see and analyze everything and then we will take a call. Mayank, Shubman, Shreyas and Vihari, all are brilliant and they are the future of Indian cricket," he stated.
"I think they need to be given a solid run for them to excel in this format and it is important for us to do that. It will start with the management showing enough support and backing so hopefully, these guys with enough backing, not just from me, but you guys, will also help."