‘Who is going to be our Pujara from last time?’ Rahul Dravid explains what India need to do to beat Australia

If India are to beat Australia in the four-Test series, they will need one batsman to score over 500 runs, something what Cheteshwar Pujara did in the 2018-19 series, reckons Rahul Dravid. The Border-Gavaskar Trophy starts from December 17 with a pink-ball Test in Adelaide kicking things off, and if India are to repeat their feat from two years ago, the former India batsman believes the team will need one player in particular to have a standout series with the bat.

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“Who is going to be our Pujara from last time?,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Dravid as saying during a webinar, organised by L&T Financial Services Mutual Fund’s annual conclave The Winner’s Circle.

Dravid, currently serving as the head of the NCA (National Cricket Academy) wants one of India’s batsman to repeat what Pujara did, and with Virat Kohli not being a contender because he is flying back to India for his paternity leave, Dravid wondered whether Pujara himself could produce a repeat of his performance for two years ago, which saw the batsman score 521 runs, including three centuries.

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“I’m saying [that because] Pujara scored 500-plus runs last time, [so] you [are] going to need one of your batsmen [to repeat that]. Either it is going to be Pujara himself – obviously it can’t be Kohli because he is not going to be there for the whole [tour] – but you are going to need one of your batsmen at least in my opinion over the four Test matches to get you something like 500 runs,” Dravid added.

Dravid weighed in on India’s bowling unit, showing confidence in it to pick up 20 wickets, but reckons whether the batsmen will be able to stand up to the challenge, will be a deciding factor in the series.

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“I do believe we have got a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets in those conditions. They will be challenging conditions: Australia will try and put out conditions which will support the quality of fast bowlers. So will we be able to match that?” he said.

“I think we will be able to get 20 wickets over five days. [But] will we get a batsman who will get 500-plus runs for us in the series [or not] might define it; if we can get that, then we give ourselves a great chance. If one of Smith and Warner, who missed the last series, get that then they [Australia] probably will have the edge.”

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