India vs Australia 2018-19 | Sportzwiki

India vs Australia 2018-19

Yuvraj Singh. (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)
Yuvraj Singh. (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)

Rishabh Pant Has Proven That He Is A Match-Winner, Says Yuvraj Singh

Rishabh Pant has managed to cement his place in the national team as a playing XI regular. He was criticized in the initial part of his career, especially for his wicket-keeping skills, which needed improvement, but he got support from the team management and managed to turn himself into a match-winner.

Early on in his career, Rishabh Pant was also criticized for throwing away his wicket by going for rash shots, after getting in. He has worked on that too. It’s in fact Rishabh Pant’s exploits with the bat which have made it impossible to keep him out of the team. He has become the first choice keeper in the Test team, both in foreign conditions and at home.
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Rishabh Pant Has Proven That He Is A Match Winner: Yuvraj Singh

Former India all-rounder and the 2011 World Cup player of the tournament, Yuvraj Singh feels Rishabh Pant has proved himself as a match-winner and agrees that he has matured with age.

“He is very mature and is a find for India because I felt he got a lot of criticism after the ways (in which) he got out. So, it is good to listen to some positive words for him. Rishabh has proven that he is a match-winner.

“In tough conditions like Australia, the way he batted and the way he got a brilliant hundred against England as well. He is probably a key (player) in the middle order,” Yuvraj told in an exclusive interview.

The biggest turning point of Rishabh Pant’s career so far was India’s 2018 tour of Australia. He scored 350 runs in 4 matches at an average of 58.33. In the crucial Sydney Test, with India leading 2-1 and needing a win or a draw to win the series, Rishabh Pant once again accelerated India’s run rate as he scored an unbeaten 159 off 189 balls. India drew the match and clinched their maiden series win on Australian soil.

Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant | Source: Twitter
Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant | Source: Twitter

Rishabh Pant continued his love affair with Australia on India’s last tour in 2020-21. With the team battling multiple adversities and injuries, he scored 97 runs off 118 balls in the third Test and an unbeaten 89 in the fourth Test in Brisbane and was adjudged Man of the match, as India won the match and series.

Rishabh Pant was picked in the playing XI again ahead of Wriddhiman Saha for the home Test series against England. In the four Tests, he scored 270 runs at an average of 54.00, including one century and two fifties. He batted at a strike rate of 84.11 in the four-match series, which India won comprehensively 3-1.

Yuvraj Singh, who played a vital role in India’s two World Cup triumphs (2007 and 2011), sees a glimpse of Australia’s legendary wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist in Rishabh Pant.

“I see someone, Rishabh Pant, like Adam Gilchrist who can change the course of the game. Gilchrist changed the course of the game in Test cricket when he came onto the scene. And I feel Rishabh can do the same,” Yuvraj told

“I also see Rishabh as a potential Indian captain in the future. Because he is jumpy, chirpy, and talks around. But I feel he surely has a smart brain as well because I saw him when he was captaining in the IPL for Delhi Capitals.

“He did an incredible job. So, people should look at him as the next captain of the Indian team in the coming years,” Yuvraj, who played 40 Tests, 304 ODIs, and 58 T20Is for India further said.

Named skipper for the IPL 2021 following an injury to Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, who has 1 hundred and 14 IPL fifties to his name, led Delhi Capitals to the top spot in the points table before IPL 2021 was suspended.

Yuvraj Singh: Current Left-Handers Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, And Ravindra Jadeja Can Change The Course Of The Game Anytime

Over the years, Yuvraj Singh became one of India’s biggest match-winners. He reckons the left-handers Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Ravindra Jadeja can change the course of the game anytime.

Responding to this Yuvraj said: “I probably don’t see any left-hander right now in the middle. Overall, we have got some good hitters in the middle. We have got Rishabh. We have got Hardik.

“I think Rishabh and Hardik together as they play more one-day and T20 together, they both will be quite a dynamic duo, batting together. You have Ravindra Jadeja coming in. So, these three guys can change the course of the game anytime. Jadeja has improved by leaps and bounds in one-day cricket and T20 cricket.”

“The left-right combination is always dangerous, as I and MS Dhoni were. So, I am looking forward to seeing Rishabh, Hardik, and Jadeja bat at the 5,6, and 7 slots,” he stated.

File image of Yuvraj Singh | Oli Scarff/AFP
File image of Yuvraj Singh | Oli Scarff/AFP

Like many other retired cricketers, Yuvraj Singh has also taken to golf in a big way.

“I am playing Golf. In these COVID times, it is quite important to keep a positive attitude,” he asserted.

A recent development for Yuvraj Singh was him being named as the face of Puma Motorsport in India, which saw him join the likes of Thierry Henry, Boris Becker, and Usain Bolt as part of the brand’s global list of legends.

“My association with Puma has been about 10 years now. If you see internationally, their association is with legends. The great thing about Puma is that they don’t let go of their legends, internationally or across.

“But the great thing about Puma is that they still stick to their old legends. Because they feel that the old legends and the new generation are both responsible for making the brand popular.”

Yuvraj was recently spotted playing golf with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ajit Agarkar, and Ashish Nehra.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP

Ravi Shastri Successful In Ensuring Players Remain In The Right Frame Of Mind, Says Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar said that at the international level, a coach’s job is to ensure that players remain positive in crunch situations which Ravi Shastri has been able to do successfully. India head coach Ravi Shastri has been successful in ensuring that the players remain in the right frame of mind, batting great Sachin Tendulkar has said.

Ravi Shastri has been head coach since July 2017 and under him, India has managed back-to-back wins in the Test series in Australia and advanced to the final of the World Test Championship.

Ravu Shastri has been India's head coach since July 2017.
Ravi Shastri has been India’s head coach since July 2017. (Reuters Photo)

Sachin Tendulkar: Coach’s Job Is To Keep Players In The Right Frame Of Mind

Sachin Tendulkar said that at the international level, a coach’s job is to ensure that players remain positive in crunch situations. Former cricketer and the head coach of India’s men’s team, Ravi Shastri was a member of the 1983 squad which lifted the ODI World Cup for India for the first time ever. The former all-rounder played 80 Tests and 150 ODIs between 1981 and 1992.

“At this level, everyone knows how to defend or drive, bowlers know how to bowl outswingers or inswingers. But to actually keep them in the right frame of my mind is the coach’s job. There is nothing better than having a good atmosphere in the dressing room during critical moments,” Sachin Tendulkar told India Today on eSalaamCricket.

Sachin Tendulkar Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar
Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

Ravi Shastri stands tall among all the head coaches in the longer format. Out of the 46 Tests India played under him, the team won 28. The winning percentage is 60.87. In ODIs, the former right-handed batsman led India in 91 matches out of which it won 57 with a winning percentage of 62.64.

The high point in Ravi Shastri’s coaching career came when India won the first-ever Test series against Australia in Australia. India’s fightback in the 2018-19 Border Gavaskar Trophy is largely credited to Ravi Shastri for filling the young talent with a never-say-die attitude. India had won the four-match Test by 2-1.

In the next Test series in Australia-the 2020/21 series, India won by the same margin despite missing several key players due to injuries.

Sachin Tendulkar: Gary Kirsten Played An Instrumental Role In Helping India Draw With New Zealand In A Test

Sachin Tendulkar gave an example of how former head coach Gary Kirsten played an instrumental role in helping India draw a Test match in New Zealand.

“We were playing against New Zealand in Napier and they had made a big score in the first innings. We also made a big score but theirs was huge and we were made to follow on with almost two days remaining in the Test,” said Tendulkar.

The coach of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 winning Indian team Gary Kirsten being carried on the shoulders of the champion team after India defeated Sri Lanka in the finals to lift the World Cup. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)
The coach of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 winning Indian team Gary Kirsten being carried on the shoulders of the champion team after India defeated Sri Lanka in the finals to lift the World Cup. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)

“Gary Kirsten did not get angry at all, he came into the dressing room and told us that this was the time to show what we were made of. Let’s go out and bat for two days. And we batted for two days and drew the Test.

“In those crunch moments, if the coach remains calm, a lot of problems go away and that is what Ravi has been able to do. I would also say you have to be stern with players when needed but how you talk to them at those moments is also very important. And he has been able to do that successfully,” said Tendulkar.

Gary Kirsten, the former South Africa cricketer, was Team India’s coach when the Men In Blue won the 2011 World Cup on April 2. Under MS Dhoni‘s captaincy, India lost just one match in the showpiece event against South Africa. India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in the semi-final to set up a blockbuster finale with Sri Lanka.

A heroic inning by Gautam Gambhir (97) along with an exceptional knock from MS Dhoni (91*) saved India the blushes and saw the Men in Blue lifted the World Cup trophy after 28 years chasing a stiff target of 275.

Rishabh Pant vs England in 2nd ODI(Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)
Rishabh Pant vs England in 2nd ODI(Photo Source: Disney+Hotstar VIP)

Rishabh Pant’s Strength Is His Self-Belief, Says Nitish Rana

Rishabh Pant’s confidence is at an all-time high right now, but even when things weren’t going his way, Nitish Rana explained how he was impressed seeing the wicketkeeper batsman’s strong grit, determination, and self-belief.

The comparison between Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni has always been a hot topic of discussion. Even though the former India captain has retired from international cricket, some can’t help but draw parallels between Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni due to their similar attacking style of batting.

Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni
Rishabh Pant and MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)

Nitish Rana: Rishabh Pant Feels He Is Nowhere Near Legendary MS Dhoni

However, if there is one person who cannot stand these comparisons is Rishabh Pant himself, reveals Nitish Rana. The KKR batsman recently stated that it really bugs Rishabh Pant when people compare him to MS Dhoni since the wicketkeeper-batsman feels he is nowhere near the India legend.

“He admires Mahi Bhai a lot, to the extent that he sometimes says: ‘If there’s someone I want to see while awake and sleeping it will be Mahi Bhai.’

“He has even said to me, ‘Why are people comparing me with Mahi bhai, I am not worthy of comparison,’ and while folding his hands, ‘Stop comparing me with Mahi Bhai, take my bat and everything else. I don’t want to play, but don’t compare me with Mahi Bhai.’ He is like a God to him,” Nitish Rana told India TV Cricket.

Nitish Rana Image Source : IPL
Nitish Rana Image Source: IPL

Nitish Rana credited Rishabh Pant for the tremendous turnaround he was able to produce. Out of the team for his inconsistent show, Rishabh Pant roared back to form during the Test series in Australia and everything changed from there.

Nitish Rana: Rishabh Pant’s Strength Is His Self Belief Saying He Was Just One Inning Away From Playing A Big Knock And It Was To Arrive Soon Which Was So

Rishabh Pant’s confidence is at an all-time high right now, but even when things weren’t going his way, Nitish Rana explained how he was impressed seeing the wicketkeeper batsman’s strong grit, determination, and self-belief.

“His strength is his self-belief. He never leaves that self-belief wherever he goes and whatever format he plays. I remember there was a time when people started criticizing him but he used to tell me:

“‘I am just one big innings away, the day I play that knock, everyone will go silent and I believe I am going to play that innings very soon.’ The next match, he made a hundred something, it was during the last (2018-19) Australian tour,” recalls Rana.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant’s favourite tour is obviously the Australian tour for he has amassed a staggering 624 runs in only 7 games averaging 62.4 with 1 hundred -his career-best of unbeaten 159 and 2 fifties which came in 2018-19. In the recent 2020-21 tour- he scored 97 which helped India draw the 3rd Sydney Test and then 89* which helped India to win the Brisbane Test and claim their second successive series win Down Under.
Nitish Rana had scored above 300 runs in every IPL edition since IPL 2017 and managed 201 runs in 7 games in the now-suspended IPL 2021 playing for Kolkata Knight Riders. His performance helped him bag a place in the 20 member squad for the Sri Lanka tour which featured many youngsters.
It was the first time he got a chance in the senior India team. India is to field 2 teams at the same time with the Test specialist team consisting of veterans to play the WTC Final and the 5 Tests against England.
Rishabh Pant, New Zealand XI vs India 2020,
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Should Be Allowed To Play Natural Game: Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane talked about how the dressing room allows someone like a dashing left-handed batsman and keeper Rishabh Pant to play his natural game as giving him too much advice could hamper his playing style.

Ajinkya Rahane said they often leave Rishabh Pant alone and back his abilities to come good. He was highest run-getter for India and 3rd overall with 274 runs averaging 68.5 in 3-Tests in recently concluded Test series against full-strength Australia.

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane. (Image Credit: Getty Images).

Ajinkya Rahane: Team Doesn’t Need To Give Rishabh Pant Advice As He Should Be Left Alone, Backed And Asked To Play His Normal Game

Rishabh Pant finished the Border Gavaskar Trophy as India’s top run-getter even though he didn’t play the first Test. His second innings knock of 89* at Brisbane in 4th Test is now an integral part of Indian cricket history, while he also scored a crucial 97 in drawn 3rd Test at Sydney. Speaking to the Indian Express, Ajinkya Rahane said the team doesn’t need to give him much advice as he knows his game well.

“For a player like Rishabh, you don’t want him to think too much, or tell him too much… He knows his game really well, he plays in a certain fashion, and you don’t want to disturb that. Because of his innings, we were in a situation to win the Test match in Sydney… So for a player like him, you just want to leave him alone, back him and just ask him to play his normal game,” said Ajinkya Rahane.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Credits: Twitter

Rishabh Pant scored an attacking 97 in the third Test in Sydney. His innings had kept India’s hopes alive of a miracle win but unfortunately, it was not possible after he got out and Hanuma Vihari suffered a hamstring injury. India had to be content with a draw. Rishabh Pant finished the job in the fourth Test in Brisbane by remaining unbeaten on 89 as India chased down a record 328 to become the first side to beat Australia in Brisbane in 32 years.

Rishabh Pant Finished With 274 Runs In 3 Tests In Recent Tour And 350 Runs In 4 Tests In 2018-19

India went in with Wriddhiman Saha for the first Test, but they soon realized their mistake and went back to Rishabh Pant especially after Adelaide debacle where they registered lowest ever Test score of 36.
Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha (Image Credit: ICC Twitter)

It was a bit surprising that the southpaw didn’t start the series as he had a decent outing in Australia last time. The left-handed batsman scored 350 runs at an average of 58.33, including a career-best of 159* in the 2018-19 series.

In the recently concluded series, he finished with 274 runs in three Tests. His incredible record against and in Australia indicate how Team India should allow Rishabh Pant’s natural game to flourish. In 7 Tests against Australia, he has 624 runs averaging 62.4.

Justin Langer, Australia
Justin Langer (Image Credit: Google)

‘Australia Are Well Prepared For Virat Kohli’- Justin Langer

Justin Langer, the Australian head coach on Tuesday said that his team Australia has planned well against Virat Kohli for the first Test to be played at the Adelaide Oval, adding the hosts will look to take the India skipper out of the game by drying up runs.

Virat Kohli will play only the first test and will miss the last 3 tests for heading home after 1st test’s conclusion to attend the birth of his first child.

Justin Langer
Justin Langer. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Justin Langer: Australia Are Going To Be Really Well-Planned For Virat Kohli

Under Virat Kohli, India have won 33 tests and lost 12 among 55 tests led by him. He is India’s most successful test skipper. In 12 matches in Australia, he has notched up 1274 runs averaging 55.39 with 6 tons. Against Australia, he averages 48.61 in 19 tests. Justin Langer said that he admires and respects Virat Kohli who is a great batsman alongside successful skipper but their plans are in place for execution.

“We have to control our emotions…He (Kohli) is a great player, great leader. I have said over and over again I have got so much respect for Virat Kohli but we are going to be really well-planned for him because we know how important he is for India as a leader and as a batsman. We will have our plans in place. The next trick is to execute them and hopefully keep him out of the game with his runs,” said Langer while speaking to the reporters.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli-Image: Getty


“And at the end of the day, that is what is going to have the impact — the runs that he scores. Hopefully we have got our plans right. We have seen a lot of him now. He has seen a lot of us too. So it should be an amazing contest,” he added.

The head coach Justin Langer, however, said that Australia has played and won all of seven day-night Tests in comparison to India’s solitary Test against Bangladesh which they won does not give Australia any advantage over their opponents in the pink-ball fixture that begins on 17th December, Thursday.

“I don’t think it has given us much advantage to be honest…I have always said that best players and best teams adapt regardless of the game or colour of the ball. So whether it is a red ball or a white or a pink ball, the best players and best teams adapt to it, I have been consistent with that for over a decade,” said Langer.

“So what’s happened in the past, it is nice to have played, India have just come off a day-night game. We’ve done a bit of practice under lights. We haven’t played under lights for 12 months. When it comes to the crunch, regardless of the ball, regardless of whether it is a day-night or day Test, it is game on,” he added.

The former Australian opener Justin Langer, who took over the charge of Australia as coach following the Sandpaper gate controversy in 2018, which saw Steve Smith and David Warner banned for a year refused to term the forthcoming four-match Test series as revenge series.

Justin Langer: Beating India In India In 2004 Was The Peak Of Personal Career

India, under Virat Kohli in the 2018/19 series, became the first Asian side to beat Australia in a Test series in their own backyard. The series featured stellar performances from batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli who scored 521, 350 and 282 runs respectively. The fast bowling battery featuring likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma too performed well by picking up 21, 16 and 11 wickets respectively.

“Revenge is never a great word for it. There is great rivalry built up between Australia and India. I mean it goes way back. It is a great rivalry for world cricket. I have said it many times, beating India in India in 2004 was the Mount Everest of my personal career because we knew how hard it was and in the past India have found it really hard to win over here,” said the 50-year-old.

Chesteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

“For a lot of Indians and I never heard Virat say that, but beating us here last time — there are moments that are very important to cricketers and India experienced that two years ago, we experienced it in 2004,” he added ahead of the first Test that will be telecast on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six.

Australia won 4 match test series in India in 2004 by a margin of 2-1 as Damien Martyn and Michael Clarke amassed over 400 runs each. Justin Langer scored 228 runs.

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc with pink ball (Image Credit: Twitter)

India Were Better Than Us In The Last Tour: Mitchell Starc

Mitchell Starc, the Australian pacer believes the upcoming 4 match Border-Gavaskar test series against India will be a chance for the hosts Australia to rectify their mistakes from the 2018-19 series defeat to Virat Kohli’s team at home.

India made history by winning their first-ever Test series on Australian soil in 2018-19 under Virat Kohli’s leadership when Cheteshwar Pujara top-scored amassing 521 runs and Jasprit Bumrah took 21 wickets.

Cheteshwar Pujara, World Test Championship
Image Credits: BCCI

Mitchell Starc: India Were Better Than Australia Throughout The 2018-19 Series

Recalling the 2018/19 series, Mitchell Starc said that the Indian team in that tour were much better equipped than Australia with both bat and ball during that summer.

“You never want to lose a series and you certainly never want to lose one in Australia,” Mitchell Starc was quoted as saying by ESPN’s The Cricket Monthly.

Mitchell Starc.
Mitchell Starc. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“India were just better than us throughout the (2018-19) series with bat and ball. Sure, we haven’t hidden away from that. We needed to be better in all facets of the game and this summer’s certainly a chance to rectify that,” Starc added.

In 2018-19, India drew the 3 matches T20I series 1-1 with 1 match abandoned but came back strongly winning 4 match test series 2-1 and subsequent 3 matches ODI series 2-1. India won Adelaide and Melbourne tests while losing at Perth while the last test at Sydney was drawn.

Mitchell Starc Rejoined Team After Being Absent In

Mitchell Starc who is the most prolific wicket-taker in the short history of pink-ball Test cricket with 42 wickets in 7 day-night games rejoined the team in Adelaide on Monday, giving him just two full days to prepare.

“I just felt I probably tuned into the noise too much, and I guess I went from someone who didn’t mind seeing or reading that sort of stuff and taking that as motivation to prove people wrong…”

Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc. Image Credit: Getty Images.

“Just with having multiple broadcasters and a whole bunch of radio and print and the rest, I probably read into that noise a bit too much,” he said.

Mitchell Starc left the Australian limited-overs squad after completion of first of three T20Is after learning of family illness. No Date was marked for his return but he rejoined the squad four days before the start of the first test.

Cameron Green and Will Pucovski are doubtful and will be reassessed before the start of the first test after suffering a concussion while Sean Abbott and David Warner are ruled out of the first test with an injury.

Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner.

Chesteshwar Pujara, Australia vs India 2019
Cheteshwar Pujara is in his own league. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Cheteshwar Pujara Has Full Faith In Pacers To Repeat Success On Australian Soil

Cheteshwar Pujara has full faith in India’s remarkable bowlers, who, he feels, possess the necessary skills to script a repeat of the historic 2018-19 Test series victory.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s 521 runs with three top-notch hundreds formed the cornerstone of a 2-1 series win back then, India’s first test series win in Australia in 71 years.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Cheteshwar Pujara: No Doubt That Australian Batting Line-up Is Stronger

However, Steve Smith and David Warner didn’t play in that series due to their ball-tampering bans.

“It (Australian batting line-up) will be a little stronger than what it was in 2018-19 but then victories don’t come easy. If you want to win away from home, you need to work hard,” India’s dependable No.3 told PTI in an exclusive interview before he embarked on the tour of Australia.

Cheteshwar Pujara believes that India’s fast bowling trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami can again work up some magic like in 2018-19, posing a lot of discomfort for the home batting line-up. Ishant Sharma though is doubtful due to injury but may be added later to test squad if found fit in time.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma. Image Credit: Getty Images.

The upcoming Tests are scheduled to start on December 17 with day-night pink ball encounter in 1st match.

“No doubt Smith, Warner and Marnus Labuschagne are great players. But the good part about 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 was in 2018-19.”

India’s fast bowlers will try to execute plans for success in Australia by getting the trio of David Warner, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne dismissed quickly without scoring much.

“They know how to be successful in Australia as they have enjoyed success there in the past. They have their game-plans in place and if we can execute them well, they are capable of getting Smith, Warner and Labuschagne out quickly.”

“If we can do what we have done in the past, I am sure we have every chance of winning the series again.”

The opening Test in Adelaide is a Day-Night game and batting against the pink kookaburra balls during the twilight session will pose its own set of challenges, said the batting mainstay who is nearing 6000 Test runs (5840 in 77 games) with 18 hundreds in his kitty.

“It will be a different challenge altogether playing with pink ball as pace and bounce also changes. We will be playing with pink kookaburra in Australia (against Bangladesh, it was Pink SG Test). It will be slightly different.”

He believes that overcoming the challenges of playing their first overseas Day/night Test will have to happen collectively. India have played only one day-night test earlier against Bangladesh which the team won.

“As a team and as individuals, one has to understand and accept and get used to it (pink ball and lights) as early possible. There will be a bit of difference with pink ball,” he said.

“The twilight period is more challenging 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, Cheteshwar Pujara is known to work on his game with father Arvind Pujara, who is also his one and only coach.

Cheteshwar Pujara Won’t Divulge His Plans

He has plans in place but won’t like to divulge many details.

“The technical aspect is something that I can’t discuss. I prefer not talking about it. It’s a strategic thing which can’t be divulged.”

“Even during the last tour, my preparation was good, I am confident that I am able to repeat the same preparation before this series also. I always try and add a few more things in my game, which will help me get better,” he said.

The 32-year-old is confident that history will repeat itself in Australia this time.

“You can’t win matches on your own. Yes, you can perform exceptionally well but you need support from other players to win. Even the bowling unit was remarkable during the last series.”

“In the end, you need 20 wickets to win a Test and wasn’t just my performance, even other batters supported at some stage or the other. It was the team’s success. When the Indian team succeeds, it is always a moment of pride,” he recollected.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. Image Courtesy: Getty

Cheteshwar Pujara has practiced for a good two months at his academy in Rajkot under the watchful eyes of his father, Arvind Pujara.

“Look, this is a situation that has impacted millions of lives and people have lost lives. In normal circumstances, we would have played domestic cricket and gone to Australia but everyone needs to think about safety and security.

“As far as I am concerned, I am happy if I am able to practice, do my fitness, running sessions and move my body well, which I did,” he concluded.

Cheteshwar Pujara was selected for the Indian squad for the 2 match home Test series against Australia in 2010, replacing Yuvraj Singh. He made his debut in the second Test of the series.

He finished the series against Australia in 2018-19 making 521 runs, the highest for either side at an average of 74.42. He was named player of the series.


Video: Mitchell Starc Destroys Murali Vijay’s Stumps With Vicious Inswinger

There is absolutely no end to India opener Murali Vijay’s woes in overseas Tests this year. The right-handed batsman, who earned the nickname of Monk for his disciplined batting in tough conditions, looks like a pale shadow of his former self now. And his lean patch continued in the ongoing second Test against Australia too.

Vijay once again failed to get going and was out for a duck as Mitchell Starc castled him with an absolute gem of a delivery. It was the third over of the innings when Starc began laying out his plan by bowling an out-swinger to the right-hander. Vijay had no problem in letting the go behind the stumps. However, the India opener was not at all ready for the delivery that came four balls later.

Starc bowled a big in-swinger, leaving the Indian opener completely clueless. The ball went straight through Vijay’s defences to rattle the stumps as Starc let out a roar to celebrate a fine start to the Test after his poor outing in Adelaide. The ball was full, had pace and swing and could have dismissed any batsman let alone Vijay who is low on confidence after a string of poor performances this year. Vijay was expecting the ball to move away but it came back in, went through the bat-pad gate to disturb the stumps

Here is a clip showing Murali Vijay’s dismissal:

Australia, meanwhile, have taken firm grip of the ongoing Test after making a solid start with the ball. Riding on fifties from Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch and Travis Head,  the hosts piled up 326 in the first innings. India, in reply, have started disastrously, losing Vijay for a duck. At lunch, India were 6 for 1.

Video: Mitchell Starc Destroys Murali Vijay's Stumps With Vicious Inswinger 1


Watch: Jasprit Bumrah’s Vicious Inswinger To Dismiss Aaron Finch

With Australia openers giving the hosts a solid start, India needed a moment of brilliance to get the early breakthrough. When Tim Paine decided to bat first on the green top of Perth Stadium, it looked like Indian pacers would relish bowling first. However, the story unfolded in an unexpected manner as India’s strong pace-battery struggled to get going early in the morning.

In fact, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav failed to take a single wicket in the first session.  Marcus Harris and Aaron Finch added 66 runs before the lunch was taken. Things did not change much after the break too as both the openers continued to keep the Indian bowlers at bay. Both soon reached their fifties and at that stage, it looked like India were in for a long day. However, just after Finch reached his fifty, Jasprit Bumrah delivered a magical delivery to get rid of him.

Watch: Jasprit Bumrah's Vicious Inswinger To Dismiss Aaron Finch 2

After bowling a shorter delivery to create doubts in Finch’s mind, Bumrah bowled a fuller one which swung in sharply and left Finch clueless. Finch tried to play the delivery across the line but failed to make any contact. Consequently, he got pinned low on the pad and in front of middle. The umpire raised his finger immediately, giving India the much-needed first breakthrough.

Here is a clip showing the wicket:

Meanwhile, India clawed their way back with some quick wickets as both the teams shared the honours on day one. Despite getting a century-plus stand from the openers, the hosts ended the day on 277 for 6. Marcus Harris top-scored for the hosts on day one, scoring 70 while Finch and Travis Head also hit fifties. Paine and Pat Cummins will resume the proceedings with the bat on day two.


Australia vs India 2018-19: India’s Predicted Eleven For Second Test

Eyeing their-first-ever Test series win in Australia, India have a made a perfect start. The visitors beat the hosts by 31 runs to draw the first blood in the four-match Border-Gavaskar series. While not many had given Australia a chance against the world number one Test side, they did give the visitors a run for their money in their own backyard.

The game looked all but over when Australia lost their skipper Tim Paine and found themselves 7 down for 187 while chasing 322. At that stage, not many would have predicted a fightback from the hosts.  However, the game was not over yet. Australia’s stubborn tail was not ready to throw in the towel yet.

Australia vs India 2018-19: India's Predicted Eleven For Second Test 3
Credits: BCCI

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc took the score past the 200-run mark, adding 41 runs to frustrate the visitors. Mohammed Shami broke the stand when he accounted for Starc. But it did not end the troubles for India.

Cummins and Nathan Lyon took the score past the 250-run mark as Australia smelled a miraculous win while the visitors started to smell a calamity. However, before it could get too late, Jasprit Bumrah removed Cummins.

There was, however, no end to the drama as Lyon and Josh Hazlewood frustrated India even more.  The two played with India’s nerves as the cricketing world started sensing an upset. However, R Ashwin finally picked up a wicket on the day when he made Hazlewood edge one to Rahul in the slips and break the Australian hearts.

Well, the momentum and form is now with India and they would definitely be looking to take an unassailable lead in the series by winning the upcoming game. The team-management is unlikely to change much as far as the playing eleven is concerned, one cannot rule out the possibility of some changes. The first and foremost is that opening slot.

While Murali Vijay flopped in both the innings, KL Rahul managed to score 44 in the second innings. In case, Prithvi Shaw recovers, he looks set to replace Vijay.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will bat at number three, four and five respectively. For number six, the team-management will have to take a big decision. They preferred Rohit Sharma over in-form Hanuma Vihari and the move backfired as Rohit scored 37 and 1. With Vihari in form and Rohit once again flopping, the former could get a chance in the playing eleven.  Rishabh Pant is a guaranteed starter at number seven.

As far as the bowling lineup is concerned, Ishant Sharma, Japrit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami look set to take care of the pace department. However, R Ashwin may face the axe after struggling in Adelaide. On a pitch which was assisting spinners, Ashwin failed to make much of an impression which further hurts his reputation of being an under-performer in overseas Tests. With Perth pitch even less likely to aid spinners, India might opt for Kuldeep Yadav.

Australia vs India 2018-19: India's Predicted Eleven For Second Test 4
Credits: BCCI

So here is India’s predicted eleven for the second Test:

KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw (if fit else Murali Vijay), Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Japrit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami



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