Former India captain Kapil Dev has said that Cheteshwar Pujara will be the key player for India on the tour of England. Pujara has been India’s most consistent test batsman off late. Kapil feels that although Kohli is also important, Pujara has a more crucial role to play. India will play a series of five tests in England.

Kapil said, “This team looks strong. We have Virat Kohli. He is the number one batsman in the world. Pujara is ideal to play five-day cricket and five Tests. If he plays well, the result can come out in India’s favour. Pujara can play the whole day, he has that temperament. I am not saying Kohli is any less important, but Pujara is the key player for me.’’

He added, “It’s not going to be easy at all. If our batsmen score runs this time, our bowlers will do much better. There will be more hope if Ravichandran Ashwin (off break) or Ravindra Jadeja (left arm spinner) start bowling well outside India. If they bowl well, I think it will be a different story. Ishant Sharma is the leader of the pace pack and if he comes good, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami too will excel in the conditions there.”

He also said that no tour of England is easy, adding, “Definitely not. The weather changes there so fast that you have to adjust quickly. The biggest test for any cricketer in England is the weather. That’s why we always say every cricketer must play one or two seasons in county cricket. They used to play county cricket, but nowadays they don’t get the chance because of the tight schedule, and so it’s tough for even the experienced players.”

He also praised the BCCI, saying, “It’s fantastic. This is the real test of cricket. I wish I was playing the five Test series there. Certain cricketers are meant to play Test cricket. Like Pujara. In a couple of years he would be ready for ODIs or T20s. But today he is your backbone. He is the cricketer who can put shutters down like Rahul Dravid and say I like to bat the whole day. Today tours are better planned and organised. Did you ever think in 80s we could have afforded to take 18 people; no way. Today the Board can afford it; it’s good. The Board has money and it uses it too. Let’s give it credit.’

    Established sports writer across various global platforms

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