David Warner and Steve Smith’s presence does make Australia stronger but Cheteshwar Pujara has full faith in India’s “significant” bowlers, who, he feels, possess the wherewithal to script a repeat of the historic 2018-19 Test series victory. Pujara’s 500 plus runs with three top-notch hundreds formed the cornerstone of a 2-1 series win back then, India’s first in Australia in 71 years. On the other hand, Smith and Warner didn’t play in that series because of their ball-tampering bans. “It (Australian batting line-up) will be a little stronger than what it used to be in 2018-19 but then victories don’t come easy. If you wish to win absent from home, you want to work tough,” India’s reliable No.3 told PTI in an exclusive interview before he embarked on the tour of Australia.
Pujara believes that India’s fast bowling troika of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami can again work up some magic like in 2018-19, posing numerous discomfort for the home batting line-up.
The upcoming Tests are scheduled to begin on December 17.
“No doubt Smith, Warner and Marnus Labuschagne are great players. But the good part approximately our current crop of bowlers is that most of them play in the same series and our bowling unit will also not be very different to what it used to be in 2018-19.”
For India’s fast bowlers, it’s like a “been there, done that” situation.
“They understand how to achieve success in Australia as they’ve enjoyed success there prior to now. They have got their game-plans in place and whether we will be able to implement them mannered, they’re capable of getting Smith, Warner and Labuschagne out quickly.”
“Whether we will be able to do what we have done prior to now, I am certain we have each and every chance of winning the series again.”
The opening Test in Adelaide is a Day-Night game and batting against the pink kookaburra right through the twilight session will pose its own set of challenges, said the man who is nearing 6000 Test runs (5840 in 77 games) with 18 hundreds in his kitty.
“It’s going to be a different challenge altogether playing with pink ball as pace and bounce also changes. We can be playing with pink kookaburra in Australia (against Bangladesh, it used to be Pink SG Test). It’s going to be rather different.”
He believes that overcoming the challenges of playing their first in a foreign country Day/night Test must happen collectively.
“As a team and as individuals, one has to understand and accept and get used to it (pink ball and lights) as early conceivable. There will be a bit of difference with pink ball,” he said.
“The twilight period is more difficult than other periods but as you play more and practice more, you get used to it. It does take a little while…”
An astute student of the game, Pujara is known to work on his game with father Arvind Pujara, who could also be his one and only coach.
He has plans in place but may not like to divulge much.
“The technical aspect is something that I will’t discuss. I prefer not talking approximately it. It is a strategic object which can’t be divulged.”
“Even right through the final tour, my preparation used to be good, I am self-assured that I’m able to repeat the same preparation before this series also. I at all times try and add a couple of more things in my game, which will help me recuperate,” he said.
The 32-year-old is self-assured that history will repeat itself in Australia this time. “You’ll’t win matches by yourself. Yes, you’ll be able to perform exceptionally mannered but you want beef up from other players to win. Even the bowling unit used to be significant right through the final series.”
“In any case, you want 20 wickets to win a Test and wasn’t just my performance, even other batters supported at some stage or the other. It used to be the team’s success. When the Indian team succeeds, it is at all times a moment of pride,” he recollected.
Pujara has practised for a good two months at his academy in Rajkot under the watchful eyes of his father.
Does it bother that before leaving for Australia, he didn’t get enough match practice? “Look, it is a sitiaton that has impacted millions of lives and people have missing lives. In normal circumstances, we would have played domestic cricket and gone to Australia but everyone needs to take into consideration security and safety.”
“So far as I am concerned, I am happy whether I’m able to practice, do my fitness, running sessions and move my body mannered, which I did,” he concluded.
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