With India preparing to travel to Australia for an intriguing Test series at the end of the year, Cheteshwar Pujara feels there are plenty of reasons for optimism ahead of the trip Down Under.
The series represents the ultimate challenge for India, as they prepare to go toe-to-toe with the top-ranked side in Test cricket.
For India, who are available at 23/10 with Cricket Betting India to win the T20 World Cup next year, getting back to the top of the Test rankings is another pressing issue for their star-studded squad. Skipper Virat Kholi and his side find themselves down in third place in the Test rankings, with New Zealand in second and the Australians leading the way.
Having recorded 2-1 victory in a four-match Test series on Australian soil back in 2018-19, India clearly know what it takes to win away at one of the powerhouses of the game. Pujara was the leading run-scorer for the tourists in that series Down Under, recording 521 runs, while Australia’s top batsman was Marcus Harris with 258.
Despite his superb efforts with the bat, Pujara feels it’s actually the Indian bowlers who will be key to any success they can earn this time around. JaspritBumrah claimed 21 wickets in the 2018-19 series, while Mohammed Shami was also formidable in attack with 16 scalps. Pujara feels the India bowling unit “know how to be successful in Australia as they have enjoyed success there in the past”.
The Aussies might be a tougher nut to crack this time around, with the experienced veterans David Warner and Steve Smith both set to feature for the hosts. The pair were serving suspensions during the 2018-19 series but are set to be firmly in Australia head coach Justin Langer’s plans over the coming months.
Marnus Labuschagne has also caught the eye of Pujara with his batting displays for his country, but the Indian batsman claims his side have gameplans in place and, if they can execute them, then they should be able to dispatch the likes of Labuschagne, Warner and Smith before they get going.
It was in that last series in Australia that India skipper Kholi admitted he only used to sit in on bowler meetings and listen to what the plan was, such was his faith in the bowling unit. They will have to be on top form once again if they are to cause another upset against an Australia side that have not lost a Test series since that defeat to India. Since then, the Baggy Greens have managed to overcome Sri Lanka (2-0), Pakistan (2-0) and New Zealand (3-0) while also drawing against old rivals England in the 2019 Ashes series.
Having had their last Test series against Bangladesh cancelled over June, there is little doubt that Australia will be raring to go, but Pujara and company appear to be up for the challenge in what will be an intriguing series.