‘India pacers capable of getting Smith, Warner, Labuschagne out quickly’: Cheteshwar Pujara

Agreeing that Australia will be bolstered with the return of David Warner and Steve Smith, India’s Test No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara said India pacers Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav have plans ready to get them out in the upcoming four-match Test series.

“They know how to be successful in Australia as they have enjoyed success there in the past. They have their game-plans in place and if we can execute them well, they are capable of getting Smith, Warner and Labuschagne out quickly,” Pujara told PTI.

“If we can do what we have done in the past, I am sure we have every chance of winning the series again.”

Smith and Warner were not part of the Australian side which India beat in 2018-19 to register their first ever Test series win on Australian soil as they were serving a 12-month ban for their involvement in the ball-tampering saga in South Africa in 2018.

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“It (Australian batting line-up) will be a little stronger than what it was in 2018-19 but then victories don’t come easy. If you want to win away from home, you need to work hard,” Pujara said.

Pujara believes that India’s fast bowling troika of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami can again work up some magic like in 2018-19, posing a lot of discomfort for the home batting line-up. The upcoming Tests are scheduled to start on December 17.

“No doubt Smith, Warner and Marnus Labuschagne are great players. But the good part about our current crop of bowlers is that most of them play in the same series and our bowling unit will also not be very different to what it was in 2018-19.” For India’s fast bowlers, it’s like a “been there, done that” situation.

Pujara scored 523 runs in four Tests with three centuries the last time India went to Australia. The right-hander has plans to repeat the same but he would like to keep the cards close to his chest.

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“The technical aspect is something that I can’t discuss. I prefer not talking about it. It’s a strategic thing which can’t be divulged.

“Even during the last tour, my preparation was good, I am confident that I am able to repeat the same preparation before this series also. I always try and add a few more things in my game, which will help me get better,” he said.

Pujara’s role in the Indian batting line-up will become more crucial as captain Virat Kohli won’t be there in the last three Tests. Kohli will fly back to India to be with his wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of his first child after the first Test – which is a day-night affair – in Adelaide ends.

“You can’t win matches on your own. Yes, you can perform exceptionally well but you need support from other players to win. Even the bowling unit was remarkable during the last series.

“In the end, you need 20 wickets to win a Test and wasn’t just my performance, even other batters supported at some stage or the other. It was the team’s success. When the Indian team succeeds, it is always a moment of pride,’ he recollected.

(With PTI inputs)

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