New Delhi: Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar on Tuesday said that dropping middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for the fourth and final cricket Test against Australia was a "bit strange" and felt that he should have been given a longer run.
India today dropped Pujara from the playing XI and brought in Rohit Sharma in his place for the Sydney Test.
"The surprising one for me is Pujara really. I mean the rest of them...Ishant didn't bowl much in the second innings, so you I think probably he's carrying a niggle, has had a lot of bowling in this series, so Bhuvneshwar Kumar comes in. The only one that is surprising for me is Pujara because he has not looked great in the series but you know if you're looking at a future, you would expect Pujara to be one of the guys.
"Rohit has been dropped two Tests back and then to bring him back, it's a little bit strange to drop Pujara. I would have probably given him this Test match as well," Agarkar said at the show 'Match Point' on ESPNCricinfo.
Agarkar, however, said he didn't think that Pujara was dropped and Rohit was given a chance in view of the upcoming World Cup.
"I'm not sure if there's anything to do with the World Cup that might have come into play. It's purely on form I think, that they've left Pujara out. Probably looking at Rohit, who plays fast bowling generally quite well, obviously opens in the one dayers so he's used to playing the new ball as well. We?ll soon find out.
"Someone who's been dropped after playing a couple of Tests, to bring him back for the last Test is a little surprising. But India has lost the series and there's sometimes no harm in trying different combinations. Not shocked or anything, was a little bit surprised with Pujara being dropped. Rest of the changes almost were warranted," insisted the former pacer.
Former Australian all-rounder Michael Bevan said it might be a good opportunity to give Rohit a bit of practice before the World Cup, scheduled to commence from February 14 and to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
"He's (Pujara) obviously been dropped probably on his form or previous series or just a long run of not scoring as many as he should have but then he's been replaced by a guy (Rohit) who played the first two Tests and probably hasn't got as good a record as Pujara in this series.
"I'm not too sure, maybe somewhere in the back of their minds their thinking might be a good opportunity to slot him in and give him a bit of practice for the World Cup," Bevan said.