‘I felt a big part of the series battle would be played against him’: Cummins names India’s ‘brick wall’
Many outstanding performances lit up the recently-concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which India won 2-1. But one of the highlights was the battle between Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and Australian quick Pat Cummins.
Pujara stood strong as a rock against the Aussie attack and ended the tour with 271 runs while facing 928 balls. However, he found himself outplayed by the Australian vice-captain on five occasions.
Days after the conclusion of the 4-match Test series, Cummins spoke about bowling to Pujara and called him a ‘brick wall’, whose wicket he targeted once captain Virat Kohli returned home on paternity leave.
Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo’s ‘The Cricket Monthly’, Cummins admitted that Pujara turned out to be the deciding factor with his rock-solid performances with the bat.
“My initial thought was that he (Pujara) was the brick wall, so once we opened up his end, I thought that still made all three results in the game possible, winning, losing or a draw. But it was satisfying too: before the series, once we knew Virat (Kohli) was going to miss the last three Tests, Pujara was the big wicket for me,” Cummins told ESPN Cricinfo.
“He was the deciding factor in the series a couple of years earlier - he was their rock in the middle order - and I felt a big part of the series battle would be played out against him,” he added.
Cummins also spoke about the pain tolerance showed by Pujara in the final Test at The Gabba. The Australian quick said it’s ‘incredibly rare’ that a batsman gets hit on his body without trying something.
“…it's incredibly rare that someone gets hit on his body and wears so many bruises without trying something. You hope if you keep doing that, maybe they're going to try to put their gloves up and you're going to get a catch that way, but he really stuck to his processes,” said Cummins.
The 27-year-old Cummins said for a bowler, Pujara is a very difficult customer to bowl at as he is never intimidated by anything.
“With someone who doesn't look to take the game on, you feel like you can experiment a little bit more, maybe be a little more aggressive in bowling a touch fuller, try to swing the ball, play around with your crease position.
“But on the flip side, if the batter's good enough to get through that and they can bat and bat, it doesn't really matter what you bowl at them. It really comes down to the fact that if he doesn't bat lots of time you feel great and love bowling to him. If he does, you go, okay, well, his method is obviously working,” he said.