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Home joy unlikely for in-form Pujara
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Rajkot, January 11, 2013
First Published: 00:43 IST(11/1/2013)
Last Updated: 00:46 IST(11/1/2013)

For two days, Cheteshwar Pujara held his hometown and beyond spellbound with a stunning triple century that floored Karnataka and sealed Saurashtra's semi-final berth in the Ranji Trophy.

But the 24-year-old, who demonstrated the amount of flair he possessed to go with his anchoring skills that makes him a perfect fit for limited-overs cricket, is unlikely to get his ODI debut barely a few kilometres from the venue of his latest batting exploit.

Although named in the squad on the back of his brilliant showing in the home Test series against England, skipper MS Dhoni felt Pujara will have to wait as it would be unfair to unsettle a lineup that won the last game, against Pakistan in New Delhi to prevent a rout.

"Well, it looks very unlikely as of now because we have to see the whole batting line-up, the position he's ideally suited for, and all those things," Dhoni said on Thursday. "As of now, it looks very unlikely. Let's see what happens tomorrow. If somebody gets unfit, we'll see."

While one would expect Pujara to be slotted at No. 3, with the rest of the batsmen struggling, he would also be playing for the sixth consecutive day. Anyway, his presence would be enough to keep the others on their toes.

England skipper Alastair Cook knows his team have their task cut out. Losing both the warm-up games underlined that challenge. However, he knew what would give England their best chance - knocking over the India top-order batsmen quickly.


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