An in-form Pujara is still India's best bet for the No. 3 slot.

Dinesh Karthik has defended Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara, urging critics to let him play his natural game. Time and again, critics have blasted the middle-order batsman for his slow batting.

Speaking exclusively on Star Sports, Karthik stated that Pujara’s strike rate shouldn’t be questioned.

“To touch upon Aakash Chopra’s point. Whatever he said was what I thought was perfect. He has been one of those people who has been the supporters of Pujara for a long time. And I feel this strike rate is absolute nonsense. If you take the number of Test matches that have gotten over in four days – it is about 80-82%. So, why bother about strike rate, let the guy play at whatever strike rate he wants to play, as long as he is able to win Test matches for India,” he said.

Pujara was instrumental in India’s victory in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. However, he failed to score heavily in the home series against England. “Now, Pujara, why hasn’t he scored runs? You have to understand, if you take the last match, he was playing against ranked turners, where the team was finding it hard to score 200 runs and to expect Pujara to score a 100 is unfair. We have played on some tough conditions, you can’t always put up numbers to justify how well a guy is playing.”

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