New Zealand in India 2012

A 'second debut' for Cheteshwar Pujara

Nagraj Gollapudi

August 21, 2012

Comments: 75 | Text size: A | A

Cheteshwar Pujara plays a cut shot, West Indies A v India A, 1st unofficial Test, Barbados, 4th day, June 5, 2012
Cheteshwar Pujara didn't have a productive Ranji season, but topped the run-charts on India A's tour of the West Indies © WICB

Cheteshwar Pujara, recalled into the Test squad for the New Zealand series, is treating his comeback as his "second debut". One of the impressive young batsmen to have come out in the last five years on the domestic circuit, Pujara was a popular choice to take a place in the Indian middle order once the top guns walked out of the game. And with two berths opening up after the retirements of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, Pujara feels he is "motivated and passionate" while not being fussy about his position in the batting order.

Pujara, who made a match-winning debut in Bangalore against Australia in 2010, played just two further Tests before a knee injury in IPL 2011 sidelined him for six months. Recovering from the surgery, he missed out on the home series against West Indies late last year, but was eager to get a ticket for the Australia tour. However, the selectors did not have enough confidence since Pujara, who plays for Saurashtra, had not had quality match practice.

Pujara made just 200 runs during last season's Ranji Trophy, but stronger performances on the recent India A tour of the West Indies, where he topped the run-charts, put him back in the reckoning. "I have been working hard on making a comeback. It has been delayed because there were not many games but I did whatever I could in domestic format and with India A. But I do not want to rush. I'm going to be calm and play my natural game," Pujara told ESPNcricinfo immediately after being picked for the Tests.

Making a comeback was never going to be easy. Pujara was hurt by some pundits questioning his fitness levels. But, working alongside his father Arvind, his driving force and mentor, Pujara made the finer adjustments to his batting. "When you come back after a six-month lay-off it is difficult to straightaway catch the rhythm. You need to start from the scratch. But once you cross those hurdles then you get mentally tough," Pujara said. He knew he could not throw away a lifetime of hard work. "I am fully motivated. This is the moment I have always worked hard for. There is hunger and passion about playing at the highest level. It is once again a debut game for me."

Mentally adept and patient, Pujara, who is only 24, has blended those qualities with his batting skills which have remained sound and fluent from his age-group cricket days. Though the likes of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have made more headlines in the last year, Pujara has remained a favourite to take the important No. 3 slot vacated by Dravid. It was the same position he batted in the nets today in Hyderabad during the Indian training session, with Kohli at No. 5; the other two contenders - Rahane and S Badrinath - batted late down the order.

However, Pujara does not want to be picky about his position in the batting order. "It is a team game so most of the time you have to see the comfort of the team, not your own. As a batsman I need to be flexible. I am a youngster who is making a comeback and not someone who is settled in the batting order so I should not be demanding. Yes, once I prove myself at a particular position then I can say I would like to bat at this number."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

best of luck pujara and team india

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

I think the next wicket keeper who can be tried in the Indian team after Dhoni exit can be Naman Oja. He is a basic attacking bastman and a very good keeper. So selectors can encourage him as the next wicketkeeper choice. :)

Posted by karthik666 on (August 22, 2012, 15:49 GMT)

@ A.Ak - When did pujara get enough chances ?? Funny guy !

Posted by ProdigyA on (August 22, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

I cant believe Raina is in again. He is very good ODI/T20 player but not Test. You dont have to be rocket scientist to figure that and he has been tried and tested. Obviously he is going to do well in Tests in India but will again become a sitting duck when batting abroad. Dont waste a precious spot, find another guy who can play in all conditions and groom him. MS wants him cause he is a good feilder and can bowl/dance to his stupid defensive approach. MS needs to be kicked out of the Test first, he is worse than Raina.

Posted by A.Ak on (August 22, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Pujara, all talking, no performance. Another RSharma in the making.

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (August 22, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

India will face a tough challenge in this season. But i hope they are not England to think more than what they are by hype of media for their own peril; and also should not be disappointed when things don't go our way. Aggressive cricket to be played by India with good defense technique too in batting, and bowling with patience

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

I hope Chet Pujara proves all the doubters WRONG, he is class player with test match temperament.

Good luck to INDIA, and let the drive to No 1 Spot begin.... KV

Posted by Peck on (August 22, 2012, 9:25 GMT)

@siddhant kharel you mean how rohit scores his ducks in aggressive style right??

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 8:07 GMT)

Badri should be in for Raina....

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 8:04 GMT)

Pujara is a gem and surely he is here to stay for a long time. And for people who feel Dhoni should not be playing test cricket let me ask you one thing, are there any other wicketkeeper who are good at Test level.. Karthik has been proven failure, Parthiv has not lived up to the image, Saha is as good or bad as Dhoni but misses the attacking spirit, Bisla is shorter format player, Uttapa is no where in the frame. Its agreed that Dhoni is not suited for longer format but it also the fact that we dont have any back keeper to replace him. To till we find one we need to persist with him..

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 7:09 GMT)

@David Kadambari - I liked all part of your comment and team selection, except Ishant come he continues to be the favorite ahead of Yadav in test matches? In my views, unless Ishant goes back to Ranjee and pick loads of wickets in next session he should not at all be picked even in top 15 leave aside top 11. He has been the most critical bowling disaster in past 3-4 years. He has played 45 tests without 100 test wickets...this is just too much of experience.

Posted by vish57 on (August 22, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

While selectors can shot for Ganguly, Laxman's forced retirement, Dravid quit the cricket with just 1 series failure, though I am a great fan of Tendulkar for his past battings, he should seriously consider quitting on high. He always claims that he never plays for record and team comes first, because of media attention all these players have become media smart in their response. End of the day if Tendulkar quits he may lose his contracted revenue through ads. Let tendulkar go on high like Gavaskar and Srinath.

Posted by ravi_hari on (August 22, 2012, 6:20 GMT)

Its good Pujara is looking at this as a second debut. He needs to be careful and consistant to serve the team for long. With both Dravid and Laxman absent, opportunities galore for the youngsters. However, they should not take things for granted. Dhoni will anyday prefer to have Raina, Kohli and Yuvraj in the team. So, if Pujara, Rahane and Tiwari or Badri need to stake claim they need to perform very well. In the one test to remember, Pujara has shown guts and technique. He is again playing in familiar conditions which is an advantage. As the next 3 series are in India only, he can cement his place with some big scores. However, he will be tested if he travels to England, SA and Australia. By then if he equips himself with enough technique, temperament and confidence he can become another Laxman for the team. If India is looking for a 6+4+1 combo then Viru, Gauti, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Badri, Dhoni, Zaheer, Umesh, Ashvin & Ojha should be the 11. Beating NZ should be easy for India.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

after vvs laxman retirement i think pujara will get a chance in a middle order in place of laxman. best of luck pujara but i hope he can play aggressively as well like raina and rohit sharma do.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 22, 2012, 6:02 GMT)

@MattyP1979: Happy to see an England supporter here. You are most welcome to even visit India for the series :-). Our team is officially in transition following Laxman's retirement. A lot of young guys are coming in which is exciting given they all come with loads of Ranji Trophy and other first class experience across the country. Speaking of spinners, Ashwin isn't the only best option. We have Pragyan Ojha (slow left arm), and Amit Mishra (leg spinner). They are relatively young and still learning from international cricket. I am sure Dhoni will play at least 2 spinners in one of the tests. The batting looks solid as always with Sachin at no.4. I expect NZ to play good cricket and challenge India.

Posted by anver777 on (August 22, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

I think Pujara is better batsman than Badrinath & should be in the playing XI...... Raina is another option for the spot !!!!!! My playing XI for Test is Sehwag, Ghambir, Kholi, Sachin, Pujara, Dhoni, Ashwin, Zaheer, Ishant, Ojha, Yadav,

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 5:45 GMT)

Since retirement of Ganguly no batsman except Kohli has done anything noteworthy. Why not pick Irfan, his stats with bat is not second to Raina & Co. at no.6.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

Another average player, who will play ok in flat wickets but fail consistently in pitches which has some form of movements. Australia is going through a transition but we are still waiting for rest of the world, especially India to catch up. Last time, we hammered the great Indian side 0-4, this year, same thing will happen :)

Posted by shivashakthi on (August 22, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

As many said, Badri will not get any chance as Dhoni will prefer his friend Raina ahead of him which is very unfortunate. Raina may perform very well on Indian soli but once we go abroad, we'll understand what is he actually!!!

Posted by MohanRagavan on (August 22, 2012, 5:14 GMT)

i dont think that Raina deserves a place in test team...he is a good performer in shorter formats.....pujara and badri would be a best players to take the roll of DRAVID AND LAXMAN in the team ...they both have much experience in that positions......hope for the best team play tomorrow....

Posted by rohan024 on (August 22, 2012, 5:14 GMT)

Ideally, i would like to see these youngas talk after performing, not jst because they have been selected. "talent", "moment i have been waiting for", "hunger" all these big words are fine but they make meaning only if translated to success.

Posted by CoolCharlie on (August 22, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

@ xylo we can always keep on ponsering that dravid should have been the one or laxman or whatever . but right now we have only got sachin left, thanks to our selectors. they should have blooded youngsters way back. and do not get me wrong mate. m not a great sachin fan. i do admire him and respect him. and yeah, never underestimate your opponents, no matter how weak. especially when you have one of the weakest balling.

Posted by SivaSurapaneni on (August 22, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

Dear Pujara, It is great to see your enthusiasm and deep desire to play for the country. I wish you all the best. One comment about your mind set. you mentioned that "Yes, once I prove myself at a particular position, then I can say I would like to bat at this number." My advise is, even after proving yourself at a particular position, please be always open to play at any position rather than try to influence the team decision as country comes first before individual preferences. Good luck and I wish to see again the era of another fab four.

Posted by jango_moh on (August 22, 2012, 2:53 GMT)

I agree with some ppl who want to sack dhoni from the test team... he's very average outside india... almost a tailender!!! i wud pick either karthik, parthiv patel(who is a good bat), or saha as the WK... gambhir can captain...

Posted by MattyP1979 on (August 22, 2012, 2:32 GMT)

Looking forward to the series. I have to ask though is Ashwin the best spin option you have available? Solid batting card (though I haven't seen a few bat), and Yadav is a must. Zaheer is the difference in these conditions I feel.

Posted by   on (August 22, 2012, 2:28 GMT)

All Those want Dhoni out are just jealous of his success. Do we have another Keeper who can do well at east on Home Soil?. Saha is a good stop gap choice but don't have stats on his side to be any competition for Dhoni till now.

And my 11 for NZ series will be 1.Gambhir, 2.Rahane, 3.Pujara 4.Sachin, 5.Sehwag, 6.Kohli 7.Dhoni, 8.Ashwin, 9.Zaheer, 10.Ojha, 11.Ishant. Sehwag should bat at 5 simply because it is looking short on experience. Once Yuvraj gets back Sehwag can open and Rahane would have got some experience by then. A Win-win strategy.

Posted by RK.Chandru on (August 22, 2012, 1:57 GMT)

How come selections in the final XI are taken for granted? Barring the 72 he scored at Bangalore, Pujara hasn't done anything noteworthy in the subsequent chances he got. Hence, the Pujaras, Rohits and Rainas needn't be treated like automatic choices to replace the old war horses. Virat Kohli is the only one who has proved consistency and everyone else the vested interests trying to promote lack that and is yet to prove. There's still a race among Yuvi (when he's 100% fit), Pujara, Badri, Rohit (`wonder, if he deserves yet another chance...) and Raina. So, let the selection committee and team management decide who makes it to the final XI and not the media or any vested interests. Let none take things for granted based on one "once in a blue moon" innings....

Posted by aneesaravan on (August 22, 2012, 1:34 GMT)

Dhoni has NOT done any thing in test cricket. Its time to move on. Time for Gauti to take over the leadership in tests, remove Dhoni from team and bring in Dinesh Karthik (who is very talented skilled experienced stroke player). My team..Gambhir, Rahane, Badhrinath, Tendulkar, Pujara, Shewag (as long as he could get runs)/Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Ashwin, Zaheer, yadav, ojha (for indian sub-continent) else Irfan for overseas. (Dhoni , Kholi plays ODI & T20 only). Hope next set of selectors will have long term goal and create NO.1 Test team.

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (August 22, 2012, 1:23 GMT)

Indian test making should be well organized. We may see Sachin to retire too in coming 1-2 years, so it's time for selectors to sit down and select 2-3 players for that spot and groomed. The best person can be taken into team as Sachin retires. Selectors should have contact with Captain and players for avoiding miscommunication and also Selectors should some respect to players and go talk to them about future strategies and plans of Team India if any to players whom they want to be aside and later remove them quoting proper reasons. They should not set bad example like Laxman's case. Dhoni's and co should work hard at their technique and also strategies. Dhoni as a captain is under Fletcher has failed miserably. Dhoni need some help when planning strategy in Test matches. It is premature to sack Dhoni as he himself has set high standards for his captaincy and play. Moreover he will said he will retire from tests in 2 years. So he knows where is he heading . He is a proven team player.

Posted by citizenkc on (August 22, 2012, 1:20 GMT)

Interesting idea from some readers about putting Sehwag down the order and giving Rahane a chance to open. This may not be a bad idea, given that home conditions are the best places to groom opening batsmen. Sehwag, at best, has a couple of years left. He may make some runs at home, but overseas he has lost his game. I think the real problem for the future, however, isn't the batting, even though Sachin will also be gone in a couple of years. The real concern is the bowling. Once Zaheer retires in the next year or so, we will have no match winning fast bowlers. Likewise, in the spin dept., Ohja and Ashwin are OK, but they won't be consistently good and matchwinners as Kumble and Bhaji were all those years. Our bowling prospects for the future are gloomy indeed and I haven't seen much among the young players to get excited about. Unless the bowling issue for the future is addressed, I really don't see India winning too many matches. Where will the 20 wickets come from?

Posted by Cric299 on (August 22, 2012, 1:19 GMT)

India should find an all rounder somehow or make someone an all rounder from the available resources. Bowling with four bowlers in a Test match is always a difficult task especially against good teams. If one strike bowler is having a bad day, you are pretty much left with 3 bowlers to bowl atleast 75 overs in a day. Just with the presence of Kallis, a good SA team looks like a great team. Number 6 slot should be that of an all rounder but for India No. 6 is always a specialist batsmen. If they do not find a better all rounder for No.6 then my suggestion would be to take a specialist batsmen like Rahane/Badrinath and make them open while Sehwag takes the No.6 position and bowls atleast 15-20 overs.

Posted by PDHARMA on (August 22, 2012, 1:06 GMT)

We have enough batsman in buffer. But we don't have good test bowlers... Need to groom those guys first to win abroad.....

Posted by xylo on (August 22, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

@rajat.tajar . Do you think it is required that Sachin "guide" youngsters in a test series against NZ, the second lowest ranked test team? If there was any team interest being pondered about, Dravid would have been the best man to have guided youngsters in the test team.

Posted by div09 on (August 22, 2012, 0:46 GMT)

I am thinking 1)Gambhir 2) Rahane 3) Pujara 4) Tendulkar 5) Kohli 6) Sehwag 7) Dhoni 8) Ashwin 9) Khan 10) Yadav 11) Ojha.........In England, Aus, SAF, West Indies, Zimbabwe and NZ I would have Irfan in place of Ojha and move him up to no.8. We need Sachin, Gambhir, Dhoni, Sehwag and Khan aloooooooot because they are the only experienced players left!!!

Posted by dishNub on (August 22, 2012, 0:17 GMT)

@Bruisers, Are you kidding me? Perfect time to give Sehwag his demotion. The guy has not scored in away games for 4 years now. Demote him to number 6 and make Rahane the opener with future in mind. If Sehwag fails at #6 also, sack him. Somebody has to let him know "see the ball hit the ball" attitude does not work abroad.

Posted by lovepork on (August 22, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

good luck Pujara and India! team should be: Gambhir, Sehwag, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Badrinath, Dhoni, Ashwin, Zaheer, Ojha and Ishant.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (August 21, 2012, 23:59 GMT)

A hard working young man. If he can perform consistently well, he could make that no.5 spot of Laxman's his own. He shouldn't be discouraged for any failures. It doesn't take 1 test match to build a career. He needs a prolonged run. Knowing Dhoni the captain, I am sure Pujara is in for the long haul. All the best young man.

Posted by mycricket2007 on (August 21, 2012, 23:47 GMT)

By looking future I would suggest 1)Gambhir 2) Rehane 3) Pujara 4) Sachin 5) Kohil 6) Sehvag 7) Dhoni 8) Aswin 9) Zahir 10) Yadav 11) Oza. We need solid opening and sehvag will go in couple of years so better rehane get trained till sehvag go. At this point except sachin there is no exp batsman in the middle order.

Posted by gitapat on (August 21, 2012, 23:45 GMT)

Atlast I have found one more person who agrees with me that Dhoni should not be in the Test team.He must be replaced by Dinesh Karthick and Gambhir made the captain.

Posted by Naresh28 on (August 21, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

Pujara --> Dravid and Badrinath --> Laxman (my wish) Openners have been a big problem in both Eng and Oz tours. There is a need to groom either Chand or someone else to replace Shewag soon. Maybe look at Gambhirs place as well if he keeps failing in tests as openner. For the team selected Gambhir/Shewag to open currently

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 22:59 GMT)

Cheteshwar Pujara reminds me of a very young VVS Laxman (Yes not Dravid!!) who had not made his mark in International cricket but had truck loads of runs in Domestic .This man has a lot of triple centuries and double centuries in Ranji. The difference between him and Laxman is that while Laxman had better timing and had more wristy stroke, Pujara has better technique.I hope he does well ;not for his good but more importantly for India.I suspect 5 years down the line India will have Pujara at 3 and Kohli at 4 and team will be called the Kohli-Pujara team like 12 years ago it was called the Tendulkar-Ganguly team

Posted by Bruisers on (August 21, 2012, 22:34 GMT)

1) Gambhir 2) Sehwag 3) Rahane 4) Tendulkar 5) Kohli 6) Pujara 7) Dhoni 8) Ashwin 9) Zaheer 10) Yadav 11) Ojha.. This is the best XI but highly unlikely in the first Test. Bet Rahane and Badrinath won't get a game this series either.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 22:33 GMT)

Good luck Pujara. Now is the time to lock in your permanent Test slot for the next few years. Hopefully your leg injury has completely healed and you are back in match form.

Posted by kapoorkap on (August 21, 2012, 22:31 GMT)

Line Up should be Sehwag, Gambhir,Pujara,Sachin,Kohli,Badri (100% it will be Dhoni's friend Raina whole world knows that),Dhoni ,ashwin,ojha,zaheer (I strongly belive there should be any new fast bowler instead of him now ), Ishant (surely he will be wicket less when he was not able to take wickets on bowler favorable conditions like England& Australia ).

Posted by serious-am-i on (August 21, 2012, 22:01 GMT)

@Arpit Agrawal: Umesh needs an outing in county cricket for couple of seasons to improve his skills. But it is highly unlikely BCCI will permit it. If I was part of BCCI, I would send almost all the medium/fast bowlers to county for outings for a couple of seasons to better their skills. Though, it would be unwise to send them all at 1 go, we could send in 3 - 4 in a batch.

Posted by Sanj747 on (August 21, 2012, 21:46 GMT)

Good luck to him. Deserves his spot. Probably one of the few youngsters actually wanting to play test cricket in India.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 21:24 GMT)

Many friends placed Sehwag at 6 but, to me it doesn't makes any difference as long as he plays his natural game. However, he achieved more success at 1 and he's better to start from scratch rather being at 50/5 or 100/5 or 150/5. Pujara is the man to be watched, he's true talent who shall be related to Dravid style of batting. Hence, he should be our long term no.3. Badri is someone whom i feel thoroughly unlucky. With his experience and class, I'm sure he'll grab this oppurtunity @ home with both hands and prosper least for 3 to 4 years. Someone rightly pointed to not include Yadav/Aaron until proven at domestic level, I concur. Here's my line-up 1)Gambhir 2)Sehwag 3)Pujara 4)Tendulkar 5)Kohli 6)Badri 7)Dhoni 8)Ashwin 9)Zaheer 10)Ojha 11)Ishant and 12th men Rahane. I wish Sachin to hang around(1 or 2 years) till the middleorder settles. Anyone who wants him retire, just think of this(or any) line-up without him. I bet, it would be a cake walk for any opponents.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

@ Nirmal Kar

I think Pujara is more of a Dravid. Technically more correct. He should bat at three in tests. Kohli is a prolific run getter who should bat 5 right now and 4 when Sachin is gone.

Of course Kohli should bat 3 in shorter versions.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 21:16 GMT)

The problem for Indian test team begins with Dhoni. He is not a good test captain and I wonder if he should at all be in the team for tests. of course this is not to say that he shouldnt be in the team for the shorter format.

I think its great that we are playing Pujara at three and Kohli at 5. Perfect. Hope they pick Rahane at 6 and give him some experience before Sehwag moves out and then Rahane can move in to the opener slot.

Posted by abhinav_invincible on (August 21, 2012, 21:07 GMT)

@Tarun Kumar, I completely agree with ur comment. Pujara is a technically better test mach player compared to Raina (Dhoni's pet) and i feel Pujara must be given more chances... If the management can give more chances to unworthy talents like Rohit and Jadeja...why not Pujara?... Success is getting to Dhoni's head..he is not creative anymore.....An ideal captain must groom a successor (ex Allan Border->Mark Taylor->Steve Waugh->Ricky Ponting)...But Dhoni has not groomed a future captain and is focussed on seeking attention....Lucky to lead a star studded team....A cricinfo stat mentioned that Ricky ponting has scored more test runs from the year 2000..but Dhoni?...A walking wicket in Greenish pitches...sub continent bully, specifically ipl...I feel Pujara must shift to a county which offer wickets with a greenish tinge to improve his batting..Expecting Pujara to do well against a weak Kiwi Bowling attack..

Posted by CoolCharlie on (August 21, 2012, 21:03 GMT)

@xylo its absolutely stupid of u to ask for sachin's retirement. in fact right now his role is very important in this transition period.its his responsibilty now to allow youngster to take their time and adopt to the international standards. if he retires now we will suddenly have absolutely new middle order with no experience. to avoid it we need sachin more than ever. so its ridiculous to post such senseless comments asking sachin to step down. i dont thynk india or any cicketing nation can afford so many retirements at once. we need him for that south african tour. we have to groom these youngsters.we will have to b patient.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (August 21, 2012, 20:39 GMT)


Posted by ImpressiveTeer on (August 21, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

Given the strength on NZ team without vettori, India need not be worried about getting bowled out. Its time to experiment Sehwag needs to bat lower down the order to be useful to the side gambhir,rahane,pujara,sehwag/Sachin,kohli,dhoni,ashwin,ojha, chawla/rahul, zaheer,yadav

No sachin uncle pls. wishful thinking.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 20:13 GMT)

Dhoni will prefer his failed and lucky pet Raina ahead of Pujare,Rahane,Badrinath etc. Everyone is waiting for the day Dhoni gets dropped

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

as now middle order looking week. so should go with 1 gambhir 2rahane 3 pujara 4 sachin 5 sehwag 6 kohli 7 dhoni 8 ashwin 9 zaheer 10 yadav 11 ojha

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

India will follow 6 bat + 1 WK + 4 bowlers ( 2 pace +2 spin ) formula

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 19:27 GMT)

It should be 1) Sehwag 2) Gambhir 3)Pujara 4)Sachin 5)Kohli 6) Badrinath(but knowing Dhoni and raina's friendship it will be RAINA) 7)Dhoni 8) Ashwin 9) Zaheer Khan 10)Pragyan Ojha 11)Ishant Sharma(plz not Umesh Yadav for 1-2 years.. he needs to prove himself in domestic circuit first)

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

It will be 1)Shewag 2)Gambhir 3)Pujara 4)Sachin 5)Kohli 6)Rahane or Raina 7)Dhoni 8)Ashwini 9)Zaheer 10)P Ojha 11)U yadav

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 19:24 GMT)

nice to see him in the test squad hope he does well

Posted by xylo on (August 21, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

Rahane, Badri and Pujara need to be in the XI for long term benefits. While Badri and Pujara can take slots vacated by VVS and Dravid, Sachin should be shown the door to make space for Rahane. Also, I expect Dhoni to be realistic and give up test cricket and let Saha don the gloves and Gambhir to take up captaincy. Sehwag, whose position is hanging by a thread in my XI, would still be around until the likes of Mukund or Rohit Sharma or Raina show promise.

Posted by prathapsj on (August 21, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

India line up for 1st test should be 1)Gambhir 2)Rahane 3)Kohli 4)Tendulkar 5)Sehwag 6)Pujara 7)Dhoni 8)Ashwin 9)Zaheer 10)Ojha 11)Yadav

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 19:18 GMT)

I would like to see Sehwag bat down at number 6 keeping in mind his overseas record. He can be as destructive lower down the order. So, my line up would go something like this... 01) A Rahane 02) G Gambhir 03) C Pujara 04) S R Tendulkar 05) V Kohli 06) V Sehwag 07) M S Dhoni 08) Z Khan 09) R Ashwin 10) P Ojha 11) U Yadav

Posted by the_blue_android on (August 21, 2012, 19:18 GMT)

Hope he gets a game. But if he doesn't unfortunately Badri will miss out. Sachin will never take a rest against an easy opposition.

Posted by KartiG on (August 21, 2012, 19:10 GMT)

Kohli should play at No.3.. He can exploit Indian Conditions and Pujara can play at No.5 followed by Raina and MS... My team would be Sehwag, Gambir, Kohli, Sachin, Pujara,Raina, MSD, Ashwin, Zaheer, Yadav and Ojha.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 18:59 GMT)

kohli shud bat at 3, pujara at 5 and raina at 6.. Rest is well and good :)

Posted by Eat_Sleep_Play_Cricket on (August 21, 2012, 18:49 GMT)

This lad "Pujara" is a tremendous talent and his 300 not out in the First class match was a treat to watch. A very sound technique with loads of patience - an ideal replacement for the great wall Dravid. Hope Sehwag regains his form and Ashwin/Ojha spin combo be as lethal as Bajji / Kumble duo. I doubt if Dhoni will play Ojha and Chawla together in a game because Left arm orthodox spinner (Ojha) and leg spinner (Chawla) will not be any different because both bowlers don't have variations. Dhoni will either pick 7 batsman and 4 bowlers (2 fast and 2 spin) or 6 batsman and 4 bowlers (3 fast and 2 spin). Good luck India.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 18:45 GMT)

Viru Gauti Pujara Sachin Kohli Raina (coz v hv no more LEFT hand bat) DhonY Ash-win Ojha Zak Yadav

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 18:34 GMT)

hmmm....All the best Pujara...I would like to have Badrinath as well in...

Posted by sameer111111 on (August 21, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

Ideally a senior like Sachin should walk in at number 3 in order to give the youngster a good platform to settle himself. But knowing Sachin.....

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 18:23 GMT)

1) Sehwag 2) Gambhir 3)Pujara 4)Sachin 5)Kohli 6)Badri 7)Dhoni 8) Ashwin 9) Zaheer Khan 10)Pragyan Ojha 11)Umesh Yadav should be the playing eleven.

Posted by Narbavi on (August 21, 2012, 18:14 GMT)

Wouldn't it be unfair to Virat if he isn't given the chance to bat at no.3 after all he has done in the one day arena until now?? its no secret he would want to bat there!!

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

All the best, you have too big shoes to feel that of VVS since Virat finally claimed the slot left vacant by SG 4 years ago. I think Rahane should graduate at Dravid's slot. Badrinath is useless at international level, especially on foreign tracks and Suresh Raina for tests is the biggest joke of the year.

Posted by   on (August 21, 2012, 17:56 GMT)

Rahane deserves a debut on Thursday...

Posted by ovzdatta151 on (August 21, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

My feelings says that Dhoni will play safe in the first test match. As Laxman and Dravid are not there anymore in the team he will opt for 7 batsmen and 4 bowlers. He would first like to see how the team performs without VVS and Dravid. My test squad would be

01) V Sehwag 02) G Gambhir 03) C Pujara 04) S R Tendulkar 05) V Kohli 06) M S Dhoni 07) R Ashwin 08) Z Khan 09) P Chawla 10) P Ojha 11) U Yadav

Posted by bigdhonifan on (August 21, 2012, 17:45 GMT)

It will be 1) Sehwag 2) Gambhir 3)Pujara 4)Sachin 5)Kohli 6) Raina 7)Dhoni 8) Ashwin 9) Zaheer Khan 10)Pragyan Ojha 11)Umesh Yadav OR Replace Raina with a bowler!!!

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