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India vs Australia: India in a fix over No. 6

Fadu News 2018-12-04 11:47:55

TOI Photo.

TOI Photo.


  • Both Rohit and Ashwin had featured in the warm-up match and didn’t do too badly
  • A majority of fans and pundits believe that Rohit’s redhot form can be best utilised at No. 6
  • Incidentally, on India’s last tour of Australia, Rohit had replaced Pujara at No. 3 in the final Test at Sydney
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ADELAIDE: There was something odd about Cheteshwar Pujara’s press conference here on Monday. Having chosen not to practise at the optional nets the team management had set up at the Adelaide Oval, Pujara still made the trip from the team hotel only to address the media.

Certainly nothing wrong with that, but generally on such low-key days, a member of the coaching staff or a junior player is presented before the media. True to his batting style, Pujara stonewalled, giving no hint whatsoever about what is cooking in the Indian camp before the first Test which begins here on Thursday.

Interestingly, when Pujara was addressing the media, two of his teammates — Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin — were in the nets, honing their skills under the watchful eyes of the coaching staff, belying Pujara’s claim that India had achieved what they had been looking for in the only warm-up game ahead of the Test series.

“To be honest, we got what we wanted in the practice game,” Pujara said. “The trainer and physio had been monitoring the workload, so depending on that we thought it is best to take a break and train for the next two days and be fresh for the Test,” said Pujara, explaining the logic behind the Indian players enjoying two off-days.

Both Rohit and Ashwin had featured in the warm-up match and didn’t do too badly, but given the competition for places in the side, the senior pros perhaps felt the need to put in a few extra hard yards before the action begins.

As the team management struggles to make its choice clear for the crucial No. 6 spot, all sorts of theories are going around. A majority of fans and pundits believe that Rohit’s redhot form can be best utilised at No. 6, but some others point out that the Mumbai stalwart should bat in the top three.

Incidentally, on India’s last tour of Australia, Rohit had replaced Pujara at No. 3 in the final Test at Sydney, following the Saurashtra batsman’s none-too-impressive form. It is unlikely that the well-entrenched Pujara will yield his place to Rohit at the start of the upcoming series, but KL Rahul’s woeful form may just prompt the team management to rejig the batting order and fit in Rohit, and take a separate call on whether to go in with four or five bowlers.

After being hammered for 544 runs by a bunch of inexperienced CA XI batsmen in the four-day warm-up game in Sydney, Virat Kohli and Co. will be a touch wary of going in with just four bowlers, even though Pujara refused to read too much into the embarrassing display. “The bowlers have already had a meeting. It wasn’t a Test match, so we are not worried. Our bowlers know what to do. I can’t disclose their game plan, but they know what line and lengths to bowl in Australia as most of them played here in 2014-15. As a bowling unit, we are very confident,” said Pujara.

Pujara even batted for offspinner Ashwin, who has always flattered to deceive in Australia. “He is a clever bowler and reads the batsmen really well. Recently, you may have noticed that he has made a lot of changes. He has also played County cricket, and in overseas conditions where there’s not much help for a spinner. Now that he is in Australia, he knows what to do,” Pujara said about Ashwin, whose 21 wickets here have cost India over 54 runs apiece.