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Opinion

This Australia tour will be tough for Cheteshwar Pujara: Glenn McGrath – cricket

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For once, India has the right to brag before the Australian Trials. And having won his first test series in Australia on the previous tour in 2018-19, Glenn McGrath feels that India is “not afraid to come to Australia like they used to.”

McGrath should know. When he practiced his trade between the early 1990s and the late 2000s, India didn’t have much to show for in Australia’s tryouts, save for the 1-1 draw in 2003-04 when McGrath did not play. The current squad is optimistic and the 2-1 win two years ago is seen as Virat Kohli’s greatest achievement as a patron of India.

Although things are different this time. It will be India’s first international series since February and Kohli will play only the first test, the pink ball game in Adelaide from December 17. He will miss the next three tests to return home and be with his wife Anushka Sharma at the birth of their children. first son. Apart from his absence, India will also face David Warner and Steve Smith, who did not play in the last series due to the ban on handling the ball. They will be eager to make an impact, while new star Marnus Labuschagne will be another challenge for Indian bowlers.

McGrath sees the challenge of Kohli’s absence as an opportunity. “It will impact the series. The player of his quality and class, that India loses him in three of the four events is a great blow, “he said. “It will be the other players who take a step forward. I can totally understand that he wants to come back for the birth of his first child, ”McGrath said in a select media interaction.

The Kohli factor

“Kohli is worth two players; one, as a batter and two, as captain, marking the field with his energy and attitude. Australia would like to dominate the series and level the ledger. They have Smith and Warner back. “

Kohli’s captaincy and batting were a major factor in India’s victory last time out. Another important reason was the resilience of Cheteshwar Pujara, who led the aggregate with 521 runs in four games, averaging 74.42.

“What he did so well last time was that he filled the fold. He spent time in the middle just hitting. He’s kind of a hitter who doesn’t feel pressure when he doesn’t score runs. That’s unique in the modern era where there are hitters who would want to score runs after a maiden. Pujara does not have that mentality. That helped him last time, allowed him to have a lot of time and just compile runs, “said McGrath.

“The fact that he didn’t spend time in the middle, he didn’t have a lot of batting time, it’s going to have a huge impact. He will probably have to work harder in this series than in the previous one, since he has not played cricket. “

Pujara was not part of the IPL. India’s No. 3’s last competitive match was in March, when Saurashtra beat Bengal in the Ranji Trophy final. McGrath feels that much will depend on how the teams begin the test series, which will follow the three-game ODI and T20I series, starting Nov. 27.

“That first test is going to be interesting. That is a day and night test. India has not played a day-night event in Australia. In the evening, with the sun setting, it will probably start to favor fast players. It will be about timing, when bowling or hitting. Virat, if he has to hit the series, he will have to hit the one Test he’s playing. That will set the tone. Two years ago the first test win in Adelaide gave them a lot of confidence, ”said McGrath.

“When it comes to other hitters, Rohit Sharma is a quality hitter who hasn’t accomplished at the test level what he should be achieving. Perhaps when Virat goes home, he could step up and show what he can do. You can’t just focus on one player. You have Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul. India has a strong batting formation. “

Australian markers forward

Both teams have the best fast pitchers. Jasprit Bumrah topped the tally with 21 wickets last time out.

“In the early days, the Indian hitters weren’t used to the extra pace and rebound that Australian grounds had. You wouldn’t say there was real fear, but it wasn’t something they were used to. The fear factor was more about the pace and bounce. I don’t think Australian terrains have the same pace and rebound. But it is still faster than in India. The victory of the last series will give them a lot of confidence.

“Umesh Yadav has a raw pace, Mohammed Shami has great control and swings the ball both ways and Bumrah is just class. He has great mental strength. His second and third spells are as fast as the first. You have guys who, if they’re on fire, they’re hard to beat. But at the same time you have Josh Hazlewood, he bowls in good areas and he is tall, strong.

So Pat Cummins is the number one bowler in the world. Run all day, always give 100 percent. You get slightly different angles due to the way you run. Then you have Mitchell Starc, the left arm. When you get it right, you can choose four to five terrains at once. It has that X factor. If both teams are bowling at the top of their game, it would probably put Australia slightly ahead just because of the southpaw, who has a big impact. “

“Take nothing away from the Indian fast bowlers of the past. These guys have a slightly different mindset … The confidence of the current generation sets them apart. “

# The series will air on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six from November 27

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