IND vs ENG: Graeme Swann Believes Cheteshwar Pujara Has An Advantage Over The Other Players

Graeme Swann

Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann believes Cheteshwar Pujara has an advantage over the other players and believes Pujara should be considered for the July 1 Birmingham Test between India and England.

After being dropped from India’s Test squad earlier this year, Cheteshwar Pujara made a huge impact in the County Championship 2022. The experienced campaigner scored 720 runs in game 5 for Sussex and was able to go back to the national team as a result.

Cheteshwar Pujara (Image Credits: Twitter)
Cheteshwar Pujara (Image Credits: Twitter)

The fifth Test, which begins on Friday at Edgbaston, will provide an excellent chance for India to finish England’s dominance at home and have been on the receiving end for three consecutive series. With a 2-1 lead, they only need a draw. However, this is a different England team than the one that relinquished meekly at Lord’s and The Oval in 2021.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. Credits: BCCI

Cheteshwar Pujara, 34, pushed his way comeback into the national team for the fifth Test against England after amassing 720 runs in just 5 matches with an exceptional average of 120 for Sussex. Pujara was left out of India’s home Test series against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

Pujara has the experience in English conditions: Graeme Swann

In a conversation with Hindustan Times, Graeme Swann discussed Pujara’s return. Would you want to use him or Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas, who both participated in the most recent Test match against Sri Lanka?

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara (Image Credit: Twitter)

Graeme Swann stated, “Due to his summer visit to England and prolific run-scoring for Sussex, Pujara has an advantage over the other players. If I were India, I would consider the fact that he has previous experience as a player in English conditions, when he scored heavily and faced many of the bowlers he will be facing this summer.”

The fifth Test match between India and England will take place at Edgbaston on Friday, July 1. In spite of Team India’s Covid-19 hit, England will start as the favourite because of their recent strong play.

Also Read: IND vs ENG: Ajit Agarkar Explains Why India Do Not Need To Match England’s Style Of Play

 

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IND Vs ENG: Ajit Agarkar Wants Either Cheteshwar Pujara Or Hanuma Vihari To Open If Rohit Sharma Misses England Test

Ajit Agarkar

Indian captain Rohit Sharma is yet to recover from Covid-19 infection and if he fails to do so in time for the rescheduled fifth Test match against England, former India pacer Ajit Agarkar wants either Cheteshwar Pujara or Hanuma Vihari to open the innings.

Rohit Sharma had captained India in the recent warmup game against Leicestershire, but on the final day, didn’t come out to the ground after he had tested positive for Covid-19 and was in isolation in the team hotel. This has also put a spanner in the planning of the Indian team, as now they need to search for a new captain as well.

Rohit Sharma. PC- Leicestershire Twitter
Rohit Sharma. PC- Leicestershire Twitter

Though Rohit Sharma is expected to be fit for the fifth Test match, BCCI selector Chetan Sharma will arrive in England to decide things further, ahead of the exciting encounter in the series which India leads 2-1 and only needs to either win or draw the fifth Test to win the series.

Ajit Agarkar Nominates Cheteshwar Pujara Or Hanuma Vihari For Opening Slot If Rohit Sharma Doesn’t Get Fit

If captain Rohit Sharma makes a miraculous recovery from Covid-19, he will open the batting. If not, then India can look towards other options in the squad like Cheteshwar Pujara, KS Bharat or Mayank Agarwal.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma
Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma. (Photo: Twitter)

Pujara had opened the innings for India seven times previously in Test cricket, with the last time coming against New Zealand in Mumbai last year when Gill was injured. On the other hand, Vihari opened the innings only once during the Boxing Day Test against Australia at Melbourne in 2018.

Former India international Ajit Agarkar said he would like to see either Pujara or Hanuma Vihari open the batting alongside Gill if Sharma isn’t fit in time for the Edgbaston Test starting from Friday.

“I know KS Bharat got some runs in the warm-up game. The team management will probably have a look at how prepared Mayank Agarwal is after joining the team. I don’t know if he has enough time to prepare for this one-off Test. With Rohit in isolation, I believe experience will help in opening, whether it is Vihari or Pujara, who has been around for a long time.

Hanuma Vihari. Photo-Getty
Hanuma Vihari. Photo-Getty

Vihari has already opened for India a couple of times. So, that would be my pick, one of those two if Mayank doesn’t look quite ready as he didn’t have enough time in the nets and is clearly not going to get any (practice) games now. In my opinion, it’s better to go with a little bit more experience because it is a one-off Test,” said Agarkar in a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports.

Also Read: IND vs ENG: What’s Happened Last Year In England I Have Forgotten It – Ravichandran Ashwin

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IND vs ENG: Ajit Agarkar Explains Why India Do Not Need To Match England’s Style Of Play

Ajit Agarkar

Beginning on Friday, July 1, the fifth Test between India and England will take place at Edgbaston in Birmingham. England enters the tournament having destroyed New Zealand 3-0 in a three-match Test series, and the team has displayed an excellent aggressive style of cricket.

Ajit Agarkar, a former Indian pacer, says that visitors should not attempt to play England’s style since they are capable of defeating England. He said that our bowlers will be more difficult for England to stop since they have more weapons at their disposal than New Zealand’s. 

Indian Team Will Play The Way They Know How To Play: Ajit Agarkar

India vs England
India vs England (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I do not know, why would India try and match with the way England are playing, England were 55/6 in the first innings against New Zealand and then they had a couple of good innings.

“India will play the way they know how to play, you don’t have to necessarily match someone, at the end of the day you want to play better than the other team. India, at the moment, are 2-1 up in the series so the pressure is on England to try and level the series.

I do not necessarily think that India will try and match England, they will play their own way. If they play well enough, they are good enough to beat England,” said Agarkar in a select media call organised by Sony Sports Network. 

Indian Bowling Attack Better Than New Zealand’s: Ajit Agarkar

In response to a query from NDTV about how difficult it would be for England to pursue Indian bowlers, Agarkar said: “Look, they are terrific players (Bairstow and Stokes). Stokes is a world-class all-rounder, and Bairstow has found some form in the last couple of Tests.

Indian bowling trio of Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami
Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami. Image Credits: Twitter

But Root is still their main batter. If India can dismiss Root early, but there is no doubt, if you compare New Zealand with India’s attack, India has probably more to their attack and it would not be that easy to take them down.” 

“Especially with the situations England were in most Tests, earlier on if India can put themselves in that situation, getting early wickets, it will be a little harder to take down India like they did with New Zealand.

England has had three Tests so they are a bit more battle-hardened but India has some serious quality in their attack so it would not be easy for England,” he added. 

Ajit Agarkar Prefer Cheteshwar Pujara Or Hanuma Vihari In Indian XI If Rohit Sharma Is Not Fit

Finally, Agarkar said that if Rohit Sharma is unable to recover from COVID-19 in a timely manner, he would prefer Cheteshwar Pujara or Hanuma Vihari to start in the Indian side. 

Cheteshwar Pujara (Image Credits: Twitter)
Cheteshwar Pujara (Image Credits: Twitter)

“I know KS Bharat got some runs in the warm-up game. The team management will have a look at how prepared Mayank Agarwal is once he joins the team. I do not know if he has enough time to prepare for the Test, especially the one-off Test, I believe experience might help, if it is Pujara or Vihari.

“Vihari has already opened for India a couple of times. One of those two would be my picks, it is better to go with a little more experience because it is a one-off Test,” said Agarkar. 

Also Read: Michael Vaughan Steps Down From BBC Commentary Role Amid Yorkshire Racism Allegations

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