'There is a huge difference between County attack and Test attack': Gavaskar on whether Pujara merits India comeback
Two months after being dropped from India's Test set-up, Cheteshwar Pujara is back knocking hard on the door of the selectors. Pujara has burned up the charts batting for Sussex in the County Championship, slamming four consecutive centuries ahead of the rescheduled fifth Test between India and England from last year. Pujara, with scores of 201 not, 109, 203 and 170 not out against Derbyshire, Worcestershire, Durham and Middlesex has looked in wonderful touch and on current for, has emerged as a serious contender for a place back in the Indian Test squad.
With Edgbaston scheduled to host the Test in July, Pujara's advantage of being used to batting in English conditions could prove to be a huge boost to the Indian team, reckons former India captain Sunil Gavaskar. Last year, New Zealand defeated India in the World Test Championship final in Southampton, with Gavaskar explaining how being in England prior to the WTC final for a two-match Test series against England went a long way in aiding New Zealand as the BlackCaps. Similarly, Gavaskar feels Pujara has the same advantage, and although there is a huge gulf between the bowling line-ups of a Test team and a County side, the selectors should consider the glorious touch Pujara is in.
"Just last year we saw that before the World Test Championship final, New Zealand played two Test matches there. And due to that, they got acclimatised to the conditions there and when they got similar conditions in Southampton, they made the most of it. This is exactly what is happening to Cheteshwar Pujara. He has gotten used to batting in English conditions, against their bowlers. Yes, there is a huge difference between a County attack and a Test bowling attack. But when a batter is in rhythm, why not take its advantage and consider him," Gavaskar told Sports Tak.
Pujara played the three-Test series against South Africa in January before he was dropped for the Sri Lanka Tests. Gavaskar pointed out that since it hasn’t been long that Pujara was axed from the Test team, it won’t be tough for him to get back in the Playing XI.
"It's not like he will be returning to the Test team after 2-3 years. He was in the team since January. So yes, he should definitely be considered. He is in terrific nick and if you have to pick him, make sure he is in the XI. His ability to tire out the bowler and hold one end is highly needed. And we have seen that his strike-rate is good too in County cricket," the former India captain added.