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Yuvraj's selection ahead of Pujara baffling: Whatmore

July 14, 2010 19:46 IST

Kolkata Knight Riders coach Dave Whatmore on Wednesday questioned selection of Yuvraj Singh ahead of in-form Cheteshwar Pujara for the Sri Lanka Test series, saying that the young Gujarat player has matured as a batsman and is a must in senior side now.

"The team surely has some finest Test match players. But, where is Cheteshwar Pujara? I personally think he is a must in the team, especially considering his form. Yuvraj Singh ahead of Pujara is completely baffling. This is just the right time to bring him in," Whatmore said. 

Yuvraj though signalled his return to form by smashing a century against Sri Lanka Board President's XI on Wednesday.

Pujara, who recently led India 'A' side in England, has scored 3925 runs from 49 first class matches at a average of 60.38. He is known for his knack of scoring double and triple centuries in the domestic circuit.

Whatmore, who guided Sri Lanka to 1996 World Cup triumph, predicted it would be a tough series for India in the absence of pace spearhead Zaheer Khan. 

"Good players are always missed in the team. The key is how ready the playing eleven is. Sri Lanka is a very formidable unit and it would be a tough contest for Dhoni and company," Whatmore told ESPN-Star.com.

Talking about promising fast bowler Jaidev Unadkat who is now in Sri Lanka as net bowler, Whatmore said, "These are early days for him. But there is no doubt that he is a promising talent. Unadkat needs to play and concentrate in first class matches. He holds a bright future." 

The Australian also feels that India are among the favourites to win the 2011 World Cup at home but said the media should not put pressure on captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten.

"Of-course India can win the World Cup. But for that to happen, everything should fall in place. But the media have the habit of exaggerating things till it is too close for comfort. No one has the Midas touch. It is just that Dhoni is a wise captain and has a thinking head on his shoulders.

"But the media have added unnecessary pressure on him by branding him 'Captain Cool' and what not. After all, he is a human being. Gary is a good coach and India has relatively performed well under his guidance," Whatmore said. 

He also refused to buy the notion that the surge in Twenty20 has resulted in cricketers getting injury prone. 

"Injuries are part and parcel of the game. In Twenty20, one is asked to bowl just four overs, so where is the question of players burn out," said the former National Cricket Academy director.

Whatmore felt spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan's retirement will create a huge hole in Sri Lanka cricket. 

"Muralitharan is arguably the greatest spin bowler of the modern era. He was one man, who created a fear psychosis. For the first time ever, batsmen started fearing off-spin bowling. Teams always had a specific plan against Murali. His retirement will create a huge hole. 

"But Lanka have the young talent. Suraj Randiv is a great offie and a future star. Ajantha Mendis has also troubled many teams and is definitely in Sri Lanka's scheme of things." 

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