India vs Australia 2020/21 | Page 5 of 41 | Sportzwiki

India vs Australia 2020/21 - Page 5

Rishabh Pant, New Zealand XI vs India 2020,
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
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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.

Kuldeep Yadav, five-for
Kuldeep Yadav creates history in Sydney Test. Image Courtesy: Getty
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Kuldeep Yadav Should Work On His Skills And Be Patient: Saba Karim

Kuldeep Yadav has been battling inconsistent form, which has been the reason behind his limited appearances for India lately. It is the primary reason for the left-arm spinner who picked up a five-wicket haul in his maiden Test tour of Australia, did not play a single Test in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy despite being part of the squad. He played only the third inconsequential ODI where he picked a solitary wicket.

With senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin injured and Ravindra Jadeja already ruled out, the opportunity was available for India to include Kuldeep Yadav for the fourth Test in Brisbane, but instead, the management decided to hand a debut to Washington Sundar.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Kuldeep Yadav Who Last Played A Test 2 Years Ago And T20I 1 Year Ago Should Be Patient And Work Hard On Skills: Saba Karim

Despite senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin injured and Ravindra Jadeja already ruled out, the management decided to hand a debut to back up net spinner Washington Sundar instead of Kuldeep Yadav who was in the squad.

It’s been over two years since Kuldeep Yadav last played a Test for India and a year since he last played for India in a T20I match. With the chips down, Kuldeep Yadav has received a piece of advice from Saba Karim, the former India wicketkeeper, who feels that besides being patient, the wrist-spinner should use this time to work on his batting.

“Be patient; work on your skills; keep working very hard. Keep enhancing your skill not only as a bowler but also a batsman. This is a time when you can work on your batting skills. Have a very strong presence in the dressing room. Always be there to help your colleagues,” Karim told SportsKeeda in an interview.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja (Image Credit: Google)

“At some point you won’t do well, and that’s the time you reflect and gain experience so that you don’t repeat those errors in future.”

Notably, India head coach Ravi Shastri had backed Kuldeep Yadav as the number one spinner in overseas Tests following India’s historic 2-1 series win in Australia in 2018-2019. Surprisingly, Kuldeep Yadav has not played Test cricket since then. He ended the recent 2020/21 Australia tour with just one ODI and one practice game in Sydney. He picked 1 wicket conceding 57 runs in Canberra ODI and went wicketless in Tour game against Australia A.

Kuldeep Yadav Should Upheld Team Spirit: Saba Karim

Saba Karim urged spinner Kuldeep Yadav not to lose heart as he believes tough times such as these can help a player learn plenty.

“Team spirit is when a player who is sitting out still prays for his competitor who goes out to play for his team. That’s the real definition of team spirit,” Karim, who played 34 ODIs and one Test for India, added.

Saba Karim.
Saba Karim. Photo Credit: Twitter.

“I have noticed on many occasions while playing first-class cricket that the player who sits out is not in a very happy frame of mind. He is waiting to get back on to the field to replace the player who is playing in place of him.”

Kuldeep Yadav has played 6 Tests, 61 ODIs and 21 T20Is where he picked 24, 105 and 39 wickets respectively. His last Test was in January 2019 at Sydney against Australia, while his last T20I was against Sri Lanka in January 2020. He has an impressive average of 13.76 in T20Is though.

Ian Chappell (Photo Source: Tribune)
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Return Of Key Players, Recent Victory Means India Are Favourites: Ian Chappell

Ian Chappell reckons India’s “exhilarating victory” against Australia, coupled with the return of some key players like Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya make them favourites in the Test series against England.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell reckons India will start as favourites in the Test series against England owing to a quality pace attack with plenty of depth and a top-order that is more consistent than the visitors.

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell. Image Courtesy: Getty

Ian Chappell: India Would Be Bolstered By Return Of Virat Kohli And Ravichandran Ashwin, Hardik Pandya And Ishant Sharma’s Addition

India captain Virat Kohli, speedster Ishant Sharma, middle-order batsman Hardik Pandya and left-arm spinner Axar Patel have been recalled to India’s squad for the first two Tests against England, starting in Chennai on February 5. While Virat Kohli played only 1 Test against Australia before returning home on paternity leave, Ishant Sharma had injury concerns while Hardik Pandya played limited-overs but wasn’t considered for Tests.

“What should also bolster the home team is the addition of captain Virat Kohli to a strong batting line-up and their incredible recent triumph in Australia. India will start as favourites after an exhilarating victory over Australia, overcoming all obstacles. When you add the name Virat Kohli to the batting order, the team suddenly assumes a bulletproof cloak,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.

Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya
Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

“In also adding the names R Ashwin, Hardik Pandya and Ishant Sharma to the list of available players, India take on an unbeatable appearance.”

The big-ticket series starts in Chennai on February 5. Historically, India have had an upper hand over England in Test matches in India. While Team India have won 19 matches, England have won 13, and the remaining 28 have ended in a Draw. In the 21st century, England have won only 1 series while losing 3. In terms of matches, India have won 8, while England won 3.

Ian Chappell: India Have Formidable Batting Top 3 Order Well Ahead Of England While There Isn’t Much Difference In Bowling

Ian Chappell feels India’s formidable top order in Shubman Gill who performed excellently in his debut Australia series, a fit-again Rohit Sharma and rock-solid No. 3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara may tip the scales in favour of the home team, despite England’s 2-0 sweep of Sri Lanka recently.

“The availability of a premium player in Ben Stokes who, like (Hardik) Pandya, provides all-round ability and selection flexibility, albeit at a higher level than the Indian, is a big plus. And Jofra Archer adds substantially to the quality of an already strong pace attack.”

“However it’s the top of the England order, where another returning player, Rory Burns, will reside, that the scales tip in India’s favour. India’s top three feature an impressive Shubman Gill, a talented but flawed Rohit Sharma and the indomitable Cheteshwar Pujara, which places them well ahead of England’s top order, ” says Ian Chappell.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad. Credit: Getty Images

He says it will add a lot of pressure on Joe Root if the opening duo of Dom Silbey and Rory Burns fails.

“Dom Sibley possesses the grit and determination required for success at the highest level but there are questions about his technique. If both players fail the challenges England will be in trouble unless Joe Root continues to score at his current freakish level. Zak Crawley, like his Indian counterpart Gill, is talented and has great potential. Nevertheless his failure to contribute in Sri Lanka raises concerns that need to be put to rest quickly and there’s no better place or time to do that than in India.”

He also spoke about the bowling attack of both the teams, saying there is not much difference in that department. However, India have improved much as shown in Australia where despite injuries to several pacers, the others showed what bench strength is capable of. England will have Jofra Archer to complement veteran James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

“The presence of Archer, along with the skill and experience of stalwarts Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, would normally provide England with an advantage in the pace department, ” says Ian Chappell.

Even the middle order of both teams is equally strong, according to Ian Chappell as for India Ajinkya Rahane scored a ton in Melbourne while Rishabh Pant hit 97 and unbeaten 89 at Sydney and at Brisbane to become a hero of series win. Hardik Pandya’s addition strengthens and lends balance while England are equipped with likes of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler who are destructive, to say the least.

“Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant and the possible addition of Pandya have India well placed to take full advantage of any good start. England are similarly placed with Stokes and Jos Buttler as their lethal weapons. However Buttler’s departure after just one Test and the possible return of Ravindra Jadeja to the Indian line-up would swing the scales further in favour of the home team.”

Ravindra Jadeja who played only 2 Tests averaging 85 with bat and 15 with a ball in Test series against Australia suffered an injury and required surgery for the dislocated thumb which ruled him out of first 2 Tests. He may return for last 2 Tests in Ahmedabad which would give India advantage. The possible return of Ollie Pope for England would add some dependability to their middle order.

Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill (Image Credit: Google)
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Shubman Gill Is A Real Player For Future: Michael Hussey

Michael Hussey feels rookie opener Shubman Gill is a real player for the future of India and said that he loves the way he goes about his innings.

Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey has heaped rich praise on young India opener, Shubman Gill, calling him a real player for the future of India. Michael Hussey signalled out Shubman Gill’s magnificent 91-run knock in the Brisbane Test, saying it was a superb innings.

Michael Hussey
Michael Hussey. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Michael Hussey: Shubman Gill Looks Like A Real Player For Future Of India

Shubman Gill, who made his Test debut in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne last year, has earned plaudits from various cricket experts after scoring 259 runs in 3 games against Australia at an average of 51.80 including a couple of half-centuries.

“There were some wonderful performances from India. I think Gill’s innings was superb. He looks like a real player for the future of India. I love the way he goes about it. And of course, Pant played one of the most incredible innings I have seen,” Michael Hussey was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.

Shubman Gill.
Shubman Gill. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Shubman Gill (21y 133d) became the youngest Indian opening batsman to score 50+ runs in fourth innings with that fifty at Gabba, Brisbane. The youngster failed to get to his maiden Test century as he was dismissed for 91 by Nathan Lyon. He faced 146 deliveries in his knock of 91 runs.

Rishabh Pant, who is used as a keeper-batsman more often during overseas assignments, made a strong case for himself for all formats, and in any conditions, as he displayed his talent fully courtesy his 89 not out in Brisbane win.

Michael Hussey: Ajinkya Rahane Had A Positive Attitude

An injury-ravaged India in Virat Kohli’s absence managed to retain the Border Gavaskar series and defeat Australia in the four-match series 2-1, making an incredible turnaround after being bowled out on their lowest-ever score (36) in the first Test in Adelaide.

“I was certainly not writing India off at the stage, but I thought it was going to be difficult to come back from that, plus their captain (Virat Kohli) was going home. And of course, Mohammad Shami was injured as well. I thought that was going to be a massive loss, but I was really buoyed by Ajinkya Rahane’s comment at the toss at the MCG Test.

“He had a very positive attitude, he kept the guys nice and positive. He gave new players the opportunity and I think he got them to focus on the positive things. I think that really worked,” Hussey further said.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Shubman Gill’s 91 and Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 89 set the tone on the final day of the fourth Test which helped India pull off the highest successful run chase (328) at the Gabba and become the first team after the West Indies to beat Australia at that venue which had become a fortress since 1988.

Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey said that Shubman Gill was very quickly becoming his favourite player to watch. This is not the first time he has praised Shubman Gill’s talent. Michael Hussey had earlier said that his talent was such that he could go on to play for India for the next 10 years.

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Ajinkya Rahane Opens Up On Why He Refused To Cut Kangaroo Cake

Ajinkya Rahane further enhanced his reputation among fans and peers as he refused to cut a kangaroo cake upon his return home from Australia. India’s Test vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane, remains one of the most respected figures in Indian cricket.

Under his able leadership, the Indian team emerged as victorious by 2-1  in the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar trophy. Upon his return home, however, his decision of not cutting a Kangaroo cake earned him even more respect from fans.

Ajinkya Rahane Kangaroo Cake
Ajinkya Rahane With Kangaroo Cake

Ajinkya Rahane : One Should Give Opposition Respect So Took The Decision Against Cutting The Cake With Kangaroo Which Is Australia’s National Animal

Indian cricketers received heroes’ welcome as they arrived from Australia after making history Down Under by winning Test and T20I series. Friends and families of the players welcomed the players in a grand manner. As Ajinkya Rahane returned home, a special cake was prepared for him but out of respect for the Australians, the veteran batsman refused to cut the cake.

Harsha Bhogle
Harsha Bhogle. Image Credit: Getty Images.

In conversation with renowned commentator Harsha Bhogle, Ajinkya Rahane opened up on his decision to snub the cake-cutting ceremony. On being asked about his decision, he said that he only had respect for the opponent team, no matter the nature of the result.

“Kangaroo is their national animal. I don’t want to do that. You give your opposition respect, you treat them well even if you win or even if you create history. You have to have respect for your opponent and other countries. That is why I took the decision against cutting the cake with a kangaroo on it,” Ajinkya Rahane told Bhogle.

Harsha Bhogle also asked Ajinkya Rahane if he is feeling tired after the Australia tour. The response of India’s Test vice-captain was: “Yes, but in a good way”.

Ajinkya Rahane Led India In Last 3 Tests And Becomes Second Asian Skipper To Beat Australia In Own Backyard

The 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under will go in history as arguably the finest away series triumph for the Indian team. Ajinkya Rahane, on the other hand, is now the second Asian captain to have beaten Australia in a Test series in their own home.

Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli
Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli

Leading the Indian cricket team in the remaining three Tests against full-strength Australia was unarguably the most challenging task Ajinkya Rahane had taken up as a captain. With Virat Kohli returning home after the Adelaide Test debacle where India team registered lowest Test score of 36, the Indian team was at its lowest.

In such challenging times, he stood up and inspired his teammates to deliver their best. The team, in the end, went on making history. Being 1-0 down, losing the services of regular skipper Virat Kohli due to his paternity leave, having lost several key players like Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja due to injuries, a second-string Ajinkya Rahane-led India staged a comeback for the ages as they won their second straight Test series on Australian soil.

Shane Lee
Shane Lee
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I Just See A Real Relaxed Team Under Rahane: Shane Lee

Shane Lee, former Australian cricketer heaped praise on stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy and said India would function much better in Tests if Ajinkya Rahane was made the captain while regular skipper Virat Kohli focused purely on batting.

In the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy, after being bundled out for 36 in the second innings of the 1st Test against Australia, and with Virat Kohli set to leave for India to attend the birth of his first child, the critics had written the Indian team off with many experts predicting a clean sweep for Tim Paine-led Australia.

Brett Lee, Shane Lee
Brett Lee, Shane Lee. Image Credits: Twitter

Shane Lee Sees A Relaxed Team Under Ajinkya Rahane And Would Have Made Him Skipper If He Was Selector

However, stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane had different plans and he set the tone for a dramatic turnaround for the visitors with a match-winning ton in the 2nd Test at Melbourne. Ajinkya Rahane, who is yet to lose a Test has won 4 in 5 Tests as Indian captain, won huge praise for the way he led the troops.

Right from the 2nd Test, Ajinkya Rahane set attacking field positions to make his intentions clear and his calmness was one of the biggest talking points in world cricket. Many experts are nowadays of the view that it would be better for Indian cricket if Ajinkya Rahane was appointed as the Test captain which would allow Virat Kohli to focus entirely on his batting.

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

Speaking on the Afternoon Sport podcast, former Australian cricketer Shane Lee opined he would have appointed Rahane as the Test captain if he was the Indian selector.

“I just see a real relaxed team under Rahane,” Shane Lee, who represented the Aussies in 45 ODIs,” said.

“If I was an Indian selector – and I’m not – but if I was, I would have Rahane captain the team and let Kohli go and do all his batting. I think the team would function a lot better, ” Shane Lee added.

Ajinkya Rahane was lauded by cricket experts for emerging victorious with an inexperienced group of Indian players as most of the senior cricketers were ruled out of the tournament with injuries. Shane Lee went on to highlight how 21 players who played in rotation delivered the goods under Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy.

“We’ve seen it throughout the whole series with 21 players on rotation. Each player that’s come in in has done a really, really good job and stood up, which comes from the captain,” Shane Lee added. 

Ajinkya Rahane showed utmost patience in keeping the side galvanized amid injury woes. He was the guiding light for the youngsters like Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and T Natarajan who stepped up in the absence of senior players like Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and gave their best to outclass the Aussies in their own backyard.

Ajinkya Rahane: Virat Kohli Is A Sharp Captain

Ajinkya Rahane scripted history on Australian soil by becoming the second Asian captain after Virat Kohli to have won a Test series on Australian soil.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli Image: Getty

When asked whether things would change once he dons the vice-captain’s hat come February 5, Rahane told PTI, “Nothing changes. Virat was and will always be the captain of the Test team and I am his deputy. When he was absent it was my duty to lead the side and my responsibility to give my best for Team India’s success.”

Lauding Virat Kohli as a sharp captain, Ajinkya Rahane added that the Delhi cricketer takes good decisions on the field and depends a lot on him to take sharp catches in slips against Indian spinners.

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Cheteshwar Pujara Admits 2017 Test Series Against Australia Was The Toughest One

Cheteshwar Pujara says the recent 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy is not the toughest India-Australia Test series he’s been a part of after emerging as one of the architects of India’s historic 2-1 Test series win against Australia Down Under.

Despite his heroics throughout the four-Test matches, the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy isn’t the toughest India-Australia Test series that Cheteshwar Pujara has been a part of as instead he says 2017 series was the toughest.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. Image Credits: BCCI

Cheteshwar Pujara Feels 2017 Test Series Was The Toughest

The first full-fledged India-Australia Test series which Cheteshwar Pujara was a part of was the 2014-15 series, which Australia won 2-0 at home before he returned to the country four years later to score 521 runs including three centuries and starred as India recorded their maiden Test series win in Australia, which was in fact a year earlier at home in 2017 that Cheteshwar Pujara admits to have been part of the ‘toughest Test series’ against Australia.

“I felt it is one of the best Test victories I have been part of,” Cheteshwar Pujara told senior cricket journalists Jamie Alter and Meha Bhardwaj Alter on their YouTube channel ‘Cricket Fables’.

Chesteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara Photo Credit: Getty Images.
India won the 2017 Border-Gavaskar trophy 2-1 with Cheteshwar Pujara scoring 405 runs averaging 57.86 and emerging the second-highest scorer of the series behind Steve Smith’s tally of 499.
After India were handed a surprise 333-run hammering in Pune in the first Test, India won the second match by 75 runs with the Test specialist scoring 92 in the second innings. The third Test ended in a draw but he produced a marathon knock, scoring a double century in India’s only innings of the match. India won the last Test by 8 wickets to win series 2-1.

Cheteshwar Pujara: The Pitches Were Challenging And The Recent Series Is One Of The Best Considering Team

Cheteshwar Pujara accomplished many significant moments in India’s recent historic win Down Under. Although he did not burn up the charts like he did the tour before, his three half-centuries and the numerous body blows he endured to ensure India did not lose wickets was the stuff of legends.

“It is one of the best series. Maybe number-wise it might not sound like a big number… it wasn’t bad… but it you compare it to the last series that I played in Australia where I scored three centuries, then yes,” Pujara added.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara (Credits – Getty)

“But if we look at this particular series, there was only one century from the Indian team and two from the Australian team in all four matches, so there were not many runs scored because the pitches were challenging. If I look at this series, it the one of the best series I have been part of considering the kind of team which we had.”

Unlike the 2018-19 series when he amassed 521 runs averaging 74.43, he scored 271 runs averaging 33.88 in 2020-21 playing the same 4 Tests, but his resolve was to be admired as an inexperienced Indian team battling multiple injuries to key members bounced back from the Adelaide debacle where they registered lowest ever Test score of 36.

Cheteshwar Pujara, World Test Championship
Image Credits: BCCI
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Cheteshwar Pujara Prefers Playing Test Cricket With Red Ball

Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s Test specialist No. 3 batsman has said that if given choice he would prefer playing Test cricket with the red ball.

India’s batting mainstay has revealed his preferred choice of the ball while playing Test cricket. The 33-year-old who played a pivotal role in India’s historic 2-1 victory in Australia recently has said that if given a choice he would like facing the red ball more than the pink ball.

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

Cheteshwar Pujara Prefer To Play With Red Ball

In an exclusive interview, Cheteshwar Puajra reckoned that the format of the game remains the same but facing the pink ball is a different ball game altogether.

“I would prefer to play with the red ball if given the choice because it’s a different ball game all together as a batter you need to have a different strategy. Yes, pink-ball is a different ball game. Although it’s the same format, I feel it’s a different ball game. So given a choice, I will prefer to play with a red ball,” Cheteshwar Pujara said.

India vs Bangladesh Day Night Test
India vs Bangladesh Day-Night Test. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Notably, India have played only 2 pink-ball Test matches till date. They had won their first-ever pink-ball Test at Eden Gardens against Bangladesh, while in their first-ever overseas pink-ball Test, Virat Kohli’s men lost by 8 wickets to Australia. India were shockingly bundled out for 36 in the 2nd inning of Adelaide Test in December 2020.

However, India bounced back after losing Adelaide Test and outshined Australian in the next 3 Tests with the red ball winning at Melbourne and Brisbane.

India Played First Day Night Test Against Bangladesh

Day/night cricket is now commonplace in one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket. For instance, all 27 matches in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 were day/night matches, as were most matches in the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

In October 2012, the International Cricket Council recast the playing conditions for Test matches, permitting day/night Test matches. The first day/night Test Match took place between Australia and New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide on 27 November 2015.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma. Image Credit: Getty Images.

The Test series between Bangladesh and India also featured the first day/night match to be played by either side at Kolkata. Ishant Sharma took his tenth five-wicket haul in Tests and was awarded Man of Match. Bangladesh scored 106 and 195 while India scored 347/99 declared with Virat Kohli scoring 136. Cheteshwar Pujara scored 55 while Ajinkya Rahane scored 51.

Cricket Australia Confirms Indian Teams Were Subjected To Racial Abuse
Mohammed Siraj. Image Credit: Getty Images.
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Mohammed Siraj Excited To Bowl Alongside Veteran Ishant Sharma Against England

Mohammed Siraj, the 26-year-old pacer signed off the series as the highest wicket-taker for his team India, claiming 13 wickets in 3 Tests, including one five-wicket haul.

“Find of the tour for shoring up the bowling attack the way he did – Mohd Siraj.” – that’s what India Head coach Ravi Shastri tweeted after Mohammed Siraj’s stellar show helped India clinch their second consecutive Border-Gavaskar title triumph.

Mohammed Siraj
Mohammed Siraj. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Mohammed Siraj  Want T0 Help India Win England Series

After an impressive show in the series Down Under, it wasn’t a surprise to see Mohammed Siraj’s name in the India squad that was announced for the first two Tests against England at home. The Hyderabad born pacer is raring to go at full throttle against England. The opening Test will be played at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram stadium from February 5.

“I just want to perform for my country. I want to help the team win the England series the way I did in Australia. The Australia series was a big opportunity for me. I am sure I will continue the good show against England as well,” Siraj told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.

Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav
Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav. Credits: Twitter

“There was a lot that I learnt from the Australia series. From sharing dressing rooms to net sessions, I learned a lot from the seniors like Pujara, Ajji bhaia (Ajinkya Rahane), Shami bhai, Rohit bhaia and coach Ravi sir. I want to use that knowledge now against England,” the 26 year old further said.

During the Australia tour, Mohammed Siraj got the chance to rub shoulders with seniors pros like Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah till ultimately he had become the pace spearhead in the last test at Brisbane, the 4th Test of the series.

Although the likes of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah suffered injuries at different stages of the tournament, they were available whenever Mohammed Siraj needed their guidance. Mohammed Siraj was handed a debut in the Melbourne Test (Boxing Day Test) after senior pacer Mohammed Shami was ruled out of the series due to a fractured wrist.

He took five wickets in his maiden outing (2 in the first innings and 3 in the second) in India’s win to level the series 1-1. He then bagged 2 wickets in the Sydney Test, which resulted in a draw.

Mohammed Siraj Is Excited Now To Bowl Alongside Ishant Sharma

In the crucial Brisbane Test, Mohammed Siraj showed magnificent resilience and bagged his maiden five-wicket haul and played a vital role in India’s historic series-clinching win.

“I am so happy with my performance. Got to learn a lot from Shami bhai, Umesh bhai, and Bumrah. They gave me a lot of tips. Shami bhai and Ravi Shastri sir taught me how to handle pressure. I will apply that in the England series as well,” Siraj further told TimesofIndia.com.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma. Image Credit: Getty Images.

Apart from Mohammed Siraj, Team India will have their regular Test fast bowling spearhead Ishant Sharma who is back after recuperating fully from injury, Jasprit Burmah and Shardul Thakur in their pace department for the first two Tests vs England. Mohammed Siraj is excited to bowl alongside Ishant Sharma in the series.

“It doesn’t matter whether I am playing at home or away, my performances and winning matches for my team have always mattered to me the most. I am all prepared for the England series,” he said.

“I have bowled alongside Bumrah, Shami bhai, and Shardul. They are part of the series (vs England). I am so excited now to bowl alongside Ishant Sharma. It is going to be a huge learning curve for me,” Siraj signed off.

In the crucial series-deciding Brisbane 4th Test, India, apart from pacer Mohammed Siraj, India had Shardul Thakur, who was just one Test old, Navdeep Saini also had just one Test match under his belt at that time and T Natarajan, who was making his Test debut. The combined number for the Indian bowlers (Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, T Natarajan and Washington Sundar) was only 9 Tests yet India won.

Chesteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Cheteshwar Pujara Worked On Fitness During Covid-19 Lockdown

Cheteshwar Pujara said he worked on his fitness during Covid-19 lockdown in the absence of opportunities to involve in some batting practice in the lead up to the Australia tour.

Cheteshwar Pujara batted 928 deliveries during the 4-Test match series in Australia. Despite not getting off to a good start in Adelaide, he was in his elements in the last 3 Tests wherein India managed to overcome mighty full-strength Australia and clinch a historic 2-1 series win.

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

Cheteshwar Pujara Finished 4 Match Test Series With 271 Runs

In the 4th and final Test at the Gabba, Cheteshwar Pujara batted 211 balls for an important fifty in India’s chase of 328. He was hit on the finger during a training session, he took at least 10 blows during the historic chase but nothing stopped Cheteshwar Pujara from grinding down Australia bowlers.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. Image Credits: BCCI

The India batting star finished the series with 271 runs but, more importantly, the time he spent in the middle against a hostile Australian attack proved to a huge positive for India. It was a brave and heroic effort from Cheteshwar Pujara who said he didn’t mind body blows to survive and help his team conquer the Gabba fortress of Australia in the series finale. Australia were unbeaten at Gabba, Brisbane since 1988.

Cheteshwar Pujara made 56 off 211 balls while chasing 328 runs on day five of the fourth Test match. Although he scored the slowest fifty of his Test career, his dogged mindset broke the hosts resolve. He was the highest run-scorer in the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy series in 2018-19 with 521 runs with 3 tons.

Cheteshwar Pujara: Used Time In Lockdown Really Well, Lost A Lot Of Fat

Cheteshwar Pujara said his fitness routine during the lockdown period back home helped him during the gruelling 4-Test series in Australia. He was among the only 2 players the other being Ajinkya Rahane who featured in all 4 Tests for India as the visitors suffered an unprecedented number of injuries during their victorious campaign.

Despite not featuring in the Indian Premier League 2020, Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara overcame rustiness and did the job with the bat in the Test series.

“Well, when there was lockdown, I used that time really well. It allowed me to work on my fitness. I lost a lot of fat, I wouldn’t call it weight loss because anyways my goal was to lose a lot of fat, become stronger and gain muscle mass,” Pujara said.

“During lockdown I was training every single day and it helped me become fitter because we played 4 Tests and there were so many injuries. I was expecting this because in Australia… last two tours, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. When you are playing 4 Tests on big grounds, it’s never easy. So you need to keep yourself fit, train enough.”

Ajinkya Rahane with Cheteshwar Pujara.
Ajinkya Rahane with Cheteshwar Pujara. PTI.

“During the lockdown, there was not anything else to do anyway. I couldn’t bat much. I told myself ‘I will work on my fitness and train hard’. There was enough time to do that,” he added.

India came back from their 8-wicket hammering in the 1st Test in Adelaide to clinch a 2-1 Test series in Australia. Despite being hampered by injuries, the visiting team, under Ajinkya Rahane’s leadership, challenged a full-strength Australian side and emerged victorious, completing their 2nd successive Test series win Down Under.

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