'You need him in the team': Hogg backs India player with 'authority and attacking nature' to play 5th England Test
- As India posted 466 in the second innings – their highest total of the series – former Australia leg-spinner Brad Hogg was impressed with one batsman in particular.
The Indian cricket team put in a clinical performance in the fourth Test against England at the Oval, which saw them cruise to a 157-run win and take a 2-1 series win. While the batting wasn't up to the mark in the first innings – India got bowled out for 191 – the batsmen made up for it and made the most of the opportunity in the second dig. Rohit Sharma led the way with a century – his maiden ton overseas in Tests – and was supported ably by Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur, all three of whom struck fifties.
As India posted 466 in the second innings – their highest total of the series – former Australia leg-spinner Brad Hogg was impressed with Pujara in particular. The India batsman, who was in hot waters for his form not too long ago has now scored fifties in consecutive matches – in the second innings of Headingley and Oval Tests – and is recapturing his touch.
The one aspect that stood out about Pujara's batting in both those innings was his strike-rate. Long questioned for batting slowly, Pujara turned a new leaf – scoring 91 off 189 in Headingley and 61 off 127 balls at The Oval. The new approach in his batting was lauded by Hogg, who feels the India No. 3 has dispelled concerns over his form and should certainly be a part of the Playing XI for the final Test in Manchester starting Friday.
"Pujara, you need him in the team. But he's playing a little more aggressively as well and with that aggressiveness, his defensive game has become more potent, more positive. The footwork has created in him being in a better position and harder for England to bowl to him. Pujara's authority and attacking nature has worked well," Hogg said on his YouTube channel.
Pujara has scored 227 runs from eight innings so far at an average of 32.42, which is already more than his tally of 222 runs in the 2014 Test series in England. The 2018 series was slightly better, with Pujara scoring 278 runs with a century, but with two more innings left, there is no reason why Pujara can't produce his best numbers in a Test series in England.