Cheteshwar Pujara was on top of the world in early 2017. He had broken Chandu Borde’s record for most runs by a batsman in an Indian first-class season after a prolific run against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia at home.In 11 Test matches in 2016, Pujara had scored 836 runs including three hundreds. The next year, Pujara was more phenomenal. In 11 Tests in 2017, he scored 1140 runs and hit four hundreds.But there was a deeper meaning to those numbers when looked at closely. Those runs mostly came at home. In 2016 and 2017, the only Test series India played away from home were in West Indies and Sri Lanka.In 2018, before the England tour, India had played four Tests including three in South Africa. Pujara played all four and scored 135 runs with a lone half-century against Afghanistan.ENGLAND VS INDIA 1ST TEST DAY 1Pujara’s numbers in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa are abysmal. As a number three batsman, he was expected to score big runs consistently. Moreover, he was expected to fill the big boots of Rahul Dravid. Cheteshwar Pujara faced the axed in the first Test between India and England at Edgbaston. (Getty Images)In England, Pujara managed only 222 runs from five Tests in 2014. Besides, in the lead-up to the first Test of the current five-match series, Pujara had a disappointing county stint and failed to make an impression during the practice match against Essex.His poor numbers in tough conditions finally cost him his place in the playing XI. KL Rahul, who enjoyed a sensational IPL season and topped that up with a scintillating hundred against England in the T20 International series, replaced Pujara at number three.advertisementRahul, on the other hand, has made a solid impression as an opener in Test cricket whenever he got the opportunity. In fact, during India’s extended home season, Rahul equalled the record for most consecutive Test half-centuries. In England, there was no way the team management could have ignored him.