With Virat Kohli set to miss three out of the four Tests in Australia, former Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar has picked two players who must bat considerably well for India. India will begin their defence of their Border-Gavaskar Trophy with the first Test starting in Adelaide, which is a day and night affair. Sunil Gavaskar believes that Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane must bat exceptionally well in the regular captain’s absence.
Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, will partake in the six white-ball games followed by the first Test in Adelaide. He will return home to attend the birth of his first child, due to happen in January. The tourists will not only miss his experience with the bat but also Kohli’s aggression as the leader, which was one of the many significant reasons for India’s victory in 2018-19. The 32-year old has six Test centuries down under, for good measure.
Sunil Gavaskar underlined that Indian batsmen do play well amid Virat Kohli’s absence, understanding to compensate for the same. Gavaskar reckons that Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara would have to bat exceptionally well and that Rahane, who would most likely captain the Test team, will enjoy the responsibility.
“Indian players do tend to raise their game when he is not around. They understand they have to make up for his absence. It’s going to be tough for Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Both these players have to bat out of their skin. Rahane has occasionally led India and would enjoy the responsibility,” Gavaskar said as quoted by Hindustan Times.
He is so rock steady: Sunil Gavaskar
The 125-Test veteran further said that the management must allow Cheteshwar Pujara to play his natural game without telling him how to get the runs. Sunil Gavaskar lauded the Saurashtra batsman for having a compact and rock-solid defence and that the rest of the batsmen must rally around him. With 521 runs in four Tests in 2018-19, Pujara earned the man of the series award and was the biggest factor in India’s series victory.
“That’s what got him here. You don’t tamper with a player’s natural aptitude or temperament,” said Gavaskar, who was the first batsman to score 10,000 test runs. Nobody should be telling Pujara how to get runs as long as he is getting the runs and the hundreds. If he is let alone and no pressure is put on him, that’s going to work in India’s favour. He is so rock steady; the others can score around him and play shots,” the 71-year old added.