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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Cricket

'Pujara puzzle' remains unsolved ahead of final ODI
PTI
Dharamsala, January 26, 2013
First Published: 19:42 IST(26/1/2013)
Last Updated: 19:50 IST(26/1/2013)

Cheteshwar Pujara turned 25 on Friday and if skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni decides to include him in the playing XI for the final ODI against England in Dharamsala on Sunday, it would be the best birthday gift for the talented Saurashtra lad.

While 3-1 scoreline is the perfect opportunity for Pujara, what remains to be seen is whether Dhoni is ready to tinker with the winning combination.

"We will have a new batting attack tomorrow," middle order batsman Suresh Raina, who came at the pre-match press conference stated but didn't wish to clarify whether it mean the change in approach or a change in the line-up.

Although one can't be 100% sure but if the batting order during the net session is followed, then Pujara might still have to wait for his turn to make his ODI debut.

It was Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who started the proceedings by entering the three nets adjacent to each other. They were followed by skipper Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Raina.

With in-form all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja almost certain to come at No 7 followed by Ravichandran Ashwin and three pacers, the only possibility of fitting Pujara in arises if one among either Ashwin or Yuvraj is rested.

While Ashwin's form has been patchy, it will be a risky option to play with one specialist bowler short. In case Ashwin is dropped, his likely replacement can be leggie Amit Mishra, who has not played a single game in the series so far.

That brings Yuvraj to the equation but he hasn't done too badly either with scores of 61, 32, 30 in the first three matches before getting out cheaply in the last game at Mohali. But the Indian skipper might not be in a mood to drop the most experienced ODI player (281) from the playing XI.

Among the pacers, Shami Ahmed was seen getting a rub-down from the team masseur Ramesh Mane while Ashok Dinda had an extended run at the net session along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma.


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