"He is the most dependable player" - Sanjay Manjrekar names India star who is irreplaceable in India's Test squad

Despite being dropped from the team last year due to a series of underwhelming outings, his absence had left India's batting lineup lacking conviction
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Rohit Sharma and Co is set all set to face Australia in the final match of the World Test Championship at the Oval, starting from June 7. Prior to their arrival in England, the Indian team traveled in separate groups due to scheduling conflicts as the Indian Premier League (IPL 2023) was still on.

However, one member of the team, Cheteshwar Pujara had been in England for several months, participating in the County Championships as the leader of Sussex. Throughout his time there, Pujara consistently delivered noteworthy performances while his fellow compatriots were predominantly engaged in the IPL.

Pujara's stint at Sussex marked his second consecutive year with the team and his contributions were highly regarded by former Indian batsman, Sanjay Manjrekar. Manjrekar affirmed that the right-hander is the "most dependable" player in the Indian batting roster.

Despite being dropped from the team last year due to a series of underwhelming outings, Pujara's absence had left India's batting lineup lacking conviction. Consequently, Pujara made a triumphant return to the side and solidified his position within the team.

Pujara played alongside Australia's Steve Smith in his latest County season

Manjrekar told in an interaction with ESPNCricinfo, “He has always played County cricket, whether India have a tour scheduled in England or not. Because there's T20 cricket going on in India at the time. He was dropped last year, and we saw how life after Pujara could be, and it wasn't that great. Today, Pujara is the most dependable player in the Indian lineup. After he came back, I'm ready to accept that India is not ready for life after Pujara yet. They still need him."

In this year's season, Pujara had the opportunity to share the field with Steve Smith at Sussex. The Australian batsman joined the County side in preparation for both the WTC Final and the subsequent Ashes series, which will be held in England after the clash against India.

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Furthermore, Pujara reached a significant milestone earlier this year when he played his 100th Test for India during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. As the World Test Championship title clash approaches, we can anticipate the return of another experienced Indian player, Ajinkya Rahane. Rahane was called back into the Test squad due to an injury sustained by Shreyas Iyer.

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