India's 2018-19 series triumph star Pujara takes guard

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Sydney, Nov 19 (IANS) A lot hinges on batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara, who was the star of Indias historic Test series triumph in 2018-19, during the forthcoming Test series in Australia.

The right-handed No.3 batsman, who amassed 521 runs with three centuries and earned the Man-of-the-Series award in 2018-19, got down to batting at the nets for a long session on Thursday to prepare for the Border-Gavaskar series that India are seeking to defend.

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Pujara faced net bowlers, who are travelling with the Indian team, as well as regular India bowlers like R Ashwin.

A video posted by the BCCI showed him using the backfoot to good effect as also leaving the deliveries outside the off-stump which had been his forte in the previous series Down Under.

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“The wait is over. @cheteshwar1 is back in the nets and is back to doing what he loves the most. Bowlers be prepared for a long workout. #TeamIndia,” said a tweet from the BCCI on Thursday.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the entire contingent has gone to Australia together. It means that even Test specialists like Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha and Rishabh Pant have got over a month to practice in Australia and get accustomed to the conditions and pitches.

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Pujara, unlike the other Test specialists mentioned, was not part of any IPL team and played no competitive cricket. He last played a competitive game, in early March, the Ranji Trophy final which his team Saurashtra won on first innings. Pujara had scored 66 off 237 deliveries in the first innings, batting at No. 6. He was not needed in the second innings.

On Wednesday, the Board had posted a video of Test wicketkeeper Wirddhiman Saha batting at the nets. Saha had suffered a couple of hamstring injuries in the Indian Premier League which forced the Board to put him under observation.

Although there had been no word on his fitness, the BCCI tweeted a video of the 36-year-old cricketer playing shots off deliveries hurled at him by the team support staff using the side-arm.



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