India middle-order veteran Cheteshwar Pujara has started preparations for the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series against Australia, which will be starting from February 9 onwards. The batter took to Twitter and shared some pictures from a practice session. “Getting ready for India vs Australia,” tweeted Pujara. It will be important for Team India that this batter displays his grit, determination and steely approach to batting to the fullest against a world-class Australian bowling attack. He was in fine form last year. In five Tests and 10 innings in 2022, Pujara scored 409 runs at an average of 45.44. He scored one century and three half-centuries last year.
Getting ready for vs pic.twitter.com/g8c1RRqUbO
— Cheteshwar Pujara (@cheteshwar1) January 31, 2023
His century came after 1,400-plus days back in December last year. Before this, he had hit a century in January 2019. Two years of inconsistent form followed the batter as he could average only 20.37 (2020) and 28.08 (2021) and scored a total of 865 runs in 18 Tests and 34 innings with seven fifties.
But a stint with Sussex county in England turned around things for him. In his eight matches for Sussex during the County Championship, he scored 1,094 runs at an average of 109.40. He scored five hundred-plus scores in the championship in 13 innings, with the best score of 231. He was the fourth-highest run-scorer in the championship.
Pujara is the sixth-highest run-scorer in history of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. In 20 matches and 37 innings, he has scored 1,893 runs at an average of 54.08 with five centuries and 10 half-centuries and the best score of 204.
The batter’s peak performance in BGT came back in 2018-19 in Australia, where he topped the batting charts and won the ‘Man of the Series’ award. In four matches and seven innings, he scored 521 runs at an average of 74.42, with three centuries and a fifty. His best individual score was 193.
In the 2020-21 edition of the series, which saw India making history and winning the series 2-1 after battling the absence of star batter Virat Kohli, poor performance in the first Test which saw them get all out for just 36, racism and injuries to key players, Pujara was one of India’s brightest stars. In four matches and eight innings, he scored 271 runs at an average of 33.87, with three fifties and a best of 77. His best performance was a knock of 56 during the final Test at The Gabba in Brisbane, which saw him overcome a lot of body blows to steer his team to a win, which was Aussie’s first Test loss at the venue since 1988.
The series is a big one for both teams as they look to nail down a spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) final. The series begins in Nagpur on February 9 with Tests in Delhi, Dharamsala and Ahmedabad.
Australia is at the top of WTC standings with a win percentage of 75.56 and have won 10 Tests, lost one and drawn four. India is at the second spot with a win percentage of 58.93 and have won five Tests, lost four and drawn one.
India’s Test squad for the first two Tests against Australia: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat and Suryakumar Yadav.
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