The Indian team has arrived in the United Kingdom for the rescheduled Test against England in Edgbaston, starting from July 1. The visitors already have an unassailable 2-1 lead and would look to register their first win since 2007 on English soil.
The much-awaited game, which was postponed after multiple Covid cases surfaced in the Indian camp, will also witness the return of Cheteshwar Pujara. The Indian Test ace, along with Ajinkya Rahane, was dropped from the Sri Lanka series at home earlier this year and was asked by the selectors to gain his lost form by playing domestic cricket.
While most of the Indian players were indulged in the 2-month-long Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, Pujara spent a great time in England featuring in the County Championship. He got four 100-plus scores for Sussex, including a couple of double hundreds, in five matches. Pujara scored an unbeaten 201 against Derbyshire and then a 109 against Worcestershire. He went on to smash 203 and 170 not out against Durham and Middlesex, ending his sting with 720 runs.
Pujara’s knocks compelled the selectors to put him in the Indian squad. Former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif lavished praise on the 34-year-old batter for turning things around.
“You can learn so much from Pujara. If you get dropped, what do you have to do as a batter? You go back to the county, you go back to Ranji and you score runs and runs and I mean, score tons and tons of runs. He has done that,” Kaif told NDTV during a media interaction.
“He’s an example for any young player who has been dropped and how to make a comeback. Probably, you should go back to Pujara and see what he has done in the last couple of months. He has been a fantastic player for India also. And I think he’ll play No. 3 for India,” he added.
India has begun preparing for the one-off Test and will play a tour game against Leicestershire, starting Thursday. Pujara will also turn up for the game but play for the County Club.
On Wednesday, Leicestershire Foxes announced that four Indian star cricketers Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna will play for the hosts in the four-day warm-up match against Rohit Sharma & Co.
The match will be played with 13 players per side to provide further flexibility and help manage bowling workloads.