Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin eagerly anticipates a gracious invitation from his comrade Cheteshwar Pujara, as the Indian team braces for the 3rd Test clash against England in Rajkot. Despite Rajkot being his hometown turf, Pujara won’t grace the field this time, having been omitted from the squad. Shubman Gill’s ascent to the pivotal No. 3 slot had outcasted Pujara from the team.
The squad which was unveiled for the final trio of Tests on February 10th saw Pujara being overlooked and set the stage for Ashwin’s potential dinner rendezvous. With a brief respite between the 2nd and 3rd Tests, both the Indian and English camps relish their downtime. The impending Rajkot Test assumes paramount significance, as the series that is poised at 1-1 intensifies, promising a gripping encounter for fans worldwide.
“The Indian players have gone back home and will be reuniting for the next Test match in Rajkot. Rajkot is the home of Cheteshwar Pujara. A certified Indian legend who recently concluded his 100 Test matches. We’ll be playing in his place. Ravindra Jadeja, Saurashtra. The Rajkot stadium is his home ground, but he is from Jamnagar. Let’s wait and watch if Cheteshwar Pujara invites everyone to his home for dinner,” Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.
Cheteshwar Pujara had previously hosted Indian team in 2016
Against the backdrop of the 2016 Test series nostalgia, Pujara‘s absence from the 2024 India-England Test series stands pronounced. While in 2016, he had hosted the entire team for a memorable dinner in Rajkot during the drawn 1st Test, this time around, the stalwart finds himself sidelined from the squad for the 5-match series. His last appearance for India dates back to the World Test Championship final in June 2023.
However, the right-handed batter’s domestic form in the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2024 season paints a contrasting picture. With a formidable double century against Jharkhand as his season opener, the Rajkot batter has remained a consistent contributor with the bat. His recent scores in the tournament, which include an impressive unbeaten 243, reiterate his enduring hunger to represent the nation.