Indian cricket team head coach Ravi Shastri on Sunday backed Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara to come good in the upcoming five-match Test series against England, saying he has an “important role” to play.
“It is not a concern for me at all. He (Pujara) has a role to play. He knows his role, because No. 3 is an important role,” Shastri told Espncricinfo.
“He’s an extremely experienced player. I feel he is one innings away (from a big score). He needs to spend time at the crease. If he gets one 60-70 under his belt, he will be a different player altogether. My job is to make sure he is thinking in that fashion.”
“Pujara is an anchor. He has been one of the pillars of this batting line-up for a long time. You know what he does – he loves batting (smiles). We just want him to do it,” Ravi Shastri added.
Outlining KL Rahul’s role in the side, Shastri hinted that India might come with a surprise in the Test series.
“He (Rahul) has been picked as the third opener. But our batting order will always be flexible. The third opener can play anywhere in the top four. We are a very, very flexible outfit. Be prepared for that. We will surprise you guys at times,” he said.
India might be under-strength in the bowling department in England because of injuries to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, but Shastri feels they have the firepower in their arsenal to take 20 wickets in a Test.
“We have a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets. You have to try other people out. If Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar had been fully fit in the one-day series, it would have been a different ball game altogether. We would have both of them fully fit for the entire Test series. It would have given me selection headaches.”
“There is still enough experience and variety in our bowling attack – whether it is pace, spin, or Hardik (Pandya) filling in as a fast-medium bowler.”
-With PTI inputs.