Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden said that the hosts will need a lot of caffeine to watch India’s Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara bat against them in the upcoming Test series, commencing on Thursday. Pujara played a crucial role in India’s 2-1 Test series win over Australia during the 2018-19 tour. This was the first time that India won a Test series Down Under. The right-handed batsman has not played any Test since returning from New Zealand in March this year. However, he played the first tour-game against Australia A and scored a half-century in the first innings. Pujara’s exploits in the last tour has not been forgotten as he accumulated 521 runs including three tons in the four-match Test series.
Speaking on Star Sports show GAME PLAN, Hayden said, “As you know Australians love to drink coffee, and we have decided to go on a little campaign to make sure we have plenty of caffeine when it comes to watching Pujara bat. But, you know what the reality is, he hurt us badly. We are of a generation now where we are admiring people for their strike play, we are admiring people for their strike rate. Well, he is one of the few guys in Test cricket that have a strike rate of sub 45 and he can hurt you.”
Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar feels that Pujara’s lack of match practice will not make any difference as he is a ”mentally strong” batsman who loves to spend time at the crease.
“Out of 20 days of Test cricket that we have ahead of us, we are really happy to have him bat for 15 days, there is no question about it. Whether he has played any cricket or not, I don’t think it’s going to make any difference because he is so strong mentally, that he will be…. he loves batting, he loves being at the crease, he loves wearing the bowlers down. In the last two years, he has also improved his strokes and range of shots,” he said.
India skipper Virat Kohli will be playing just the first Test against Australia, as he will return home after being granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The first Test of the four-match series, beginning on December 17, will be played at the Adelaide Oval and it would be a day-night contest. Australia has the best-record in day-night Tests as the side has not lost a single match that has been played with the pink ball.
Australia had won the ODI series while the Men in Blue walked away with the honours in the T20I series.
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