Pujara’s achievements aren’t recognised enough, feels Tendulkar

NEW DELHI: Cheteshwar Pujara always stepped up when the team needed him the most and bailed Team India out from precarious positions on numerous occasions with his gritty knocks throughout his career.
But one thing that eluded Pujara is the appreciation that he should have got for his achievements and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar echoed the same sentiments saying his ‘achievements aren’t recognised enough’.
Pujara is set to complete the 100-Test milestone during the second game of the series at the Kotla in New Delhi. Someone with 7000-plus Test runs in 98 games, Pujara is expected to be another thorn in Aussie flesh.
“I feel Pujara’s achievements aren’t recognised enough and his importance in the team isn’t recognised enough, generally,” said the man, who has played an unprecedented 200 Tests.
“He has played magnificently for the country and his contribution has been immense in whatever success the Indian cricket team has had,” said Tendulkar, who was in fact at the other end when Pujara scored a half-century on his Test debut.
Ashwin’s skills as well as mind-games will make the series more engaging
The conventional thought process tells that spinners will come into play when the ball is old but in case of Ravichandran Ashwin, a bit of nip in the morning air and some moisture in the surface could bring him into play in the very first hour, the maestro said.
“I think he is just one short of 450 wickets. Ashwin is a world class bowler and he has been delivering amazing performances for a number of years now. The variation he has is really, really special and he isn’t afraid to try out things. He wants to make batter’s life uncomfortable and that’s how it should be.”
“It is all about owning those 22 yards and he has multiple variations which can force a batter to think in different manner and disturb a batter’s gameplan. Along with that he likes to play mind games and that is what makes any series far more exciting, interesting and engaging.”
Nathan Lyon will also miss Starc
The Australians will certainly miss Mitchell Starc but for Tendulkar, left-arm pacer’s absence might lessen the impact of off-spinner Lyon.
Starc, who comes around the wicket (over the wicket for left-armers) often creates rough with his footmarks in his follow through and that becomes troublesome for right-handed batters (when a spinner operates and exploits rough patch).
“Lyon is a world class bowler and he becomes more effective when Starc is there because of the rough patches created for right handers outside the off stump. These are the things which will come into play.”
Ravindra Jadeja is good enough to bat at No. 6
Jadeja’s presence in the eleven lends the requisite balance and Tendulkar believes he is competent enough to regularly bat at number six in Tests.
“Jadeja as a package is tremendous. If you notice in the last few seasons, he has upped his batting and for me he is good enough to bat at No. 6 and played enough crucial innings for India. In bowling also, he recently played a first-class match and got wickets (seven vs Tamil Nadu). He had that unfortunate (knee) injury and players like him will overcome challenges.
“What Jadeja has achieved, he has become a crucial part of this Indian cricket team. A brilliant fielder as well and if I am not wrong, he is eight wickets short of 250-mark. He has also scored 2500 runs. He is in that special league of players, not many guys have been able to achieve in Test cricket.”
Reverse swing will be a factor
While everyone is talking about the impact spinners will have, Tendulkar said reverse swing will also be crucial.
“The first hour of every morning, seamers will come into play and so will the spinners because in the morning there is going to be that bite in the surface.
“I remember playing one game in Nagpur where spinners dominated the morning session. The odd ball went straight and other one spun viciously. It became difficult for batters to gauge which one will turn and which one will come straight. It’s going to be both and reverse will come into play in this series.”
We don’t expect tracks that aid spinners in Australia
A challenge of being an international cricketer is to adapt to different kinds of surfaces and Tendulkar feels that when a team comes to India, they should be well aware that pitches will offer turn.
“When you become an international cricketer, you are supposed to play on any kind of surface in the world. Those are challenges of travelling. When we go to Australia, we don’t expect turners there. We know nature of the surface is going to be a little bouncy and more pace in it and upfront movement of seam.
“So is the case with Australian team, when they are in India. They know that there will be turn and nature of the surface will be slowish. They are prepared for that, they have practised with SG balls. Every team prepares to the best of their abilities and it is what happens around them amplify but the team is always in a different space compared to what outsiders are thinking.
“I feel Aussies are prepared to play and face the challenges.”
(With PTI Inputs)

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