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Cheteshwar Pujara will have a tough time in the India-Australia series: Glenn McGrath

India’s tour of Australia has been making the headlines from the time the squads were announced. The expectations have been larger than before as the Virat Kohli-led side had a dream run in the previous tour of 2018-19, wherein they played a fearless brand of cricket and defeated the hosts in their home conditions.

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The Men In Blue had registered a 2-1 win in the ODIs and this was the first time they beat Australia in a bilateral series down-under. In T20Is, the tourists leveled the series 1-1, but in Tests, they created history by defeating them by 2-1 and becoming the first Asian side to beat the Aussies on their own turf and skipper Virat Kohli became the first Indian and Asian captain to have this feat to his name.

With Team India possessing a pretty strong and competent attack, former Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath feels that they have a great chance to emulate their previous tour’s performances in the upcoming series.

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This tour would mark Team India’s return to international cricket as they last competed in the tour of New Zealand back in February. It could be a challenge for the Men in Blue as their skipper Virat Kohli would just be a part of the first Test which is the Day-Night Test at Adelaide and would return to India for paternity leave.

Moreover, the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith are back in the side and alongside a rising Marnus Labuschagne, the trio would look to render a dominating display throughout.

Pujara is a kind of batsman who doesn’t feel pressure when not scoring runs, says Glenn McGrath

One of the key players that helped India create history the last time in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy was Cheteshwar Pujara. The Saurashtra cricketer racked 521 runs in 7 innings, averaging 74.42, with three hundreds and a fifty. He bagged a couple of ‘Man of the Match’ awards for his knocks in Adelaide and Sydney and was eventually adjudged as the ‘Man of the Series’ for his herculean exhibitions in that Test series.

However, Pujara is just a member of India’s Test squad, and since he hasn’t played any Test cricket post the New Zealand series, it could take him some time to get used to the conditions.

“The thing he did so well last time was that he occupied the crease. He spent time in the middle just batting. He is the kind of batsman who does not feel pressure when not scoring runs. That is unique in the modern era where there are batsmen who would want to score runs after some maiden over.”

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McGrath, who was a part of the mighty Australian unit and picked 563 and 381 wickets in 124 Tests and 250 ODIs respectively, feels the lack of cricket could affect a player like Pujara who likes to spend time on the crease and generate the impact he’s known for.

“The fact that he hasn’t spent time in the middle hasn’t had a lot of long batting time is going to have a big impact. He will probably have to work harder this series than the last one as he hasn’t played any cricket,” he added.

Team India will compete in 3 ODIs, as many T20Is, and 4 Tests in the tour that would unravel from November 27, with the first ODI all set to take place in SCG, Sydney.

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V Shashank
A cricket aficionado who has been following the game since the historic Ashes 2013-14. "People throw stones at you, you turn them into milestones." - Sachin Tendulkar


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