Legendary former India batsman Sunil Gavaskar defended Cheteshwar Pujara saying conditions in the ICC World Test Championship Final against New Zealand, which India lost by 8 wickets, were tough for batting. Pujara made 8 off 54 and 15 off 80 in either innings, after which his approach has once again come under the scanner in some sections. At the post-match press conference, captain Virat Kohli had hinted that India’s batsmen should play with the momentum of the game, without mentioning names.
“We should remember how New Zealand batted. Conditions were not very suitable for batting, it was favouring bowlers. The way Conway, Williamson batted in both the innings," Gavaskar told India Today.
“The way Ross Taylor also batted after starting slow, we should remember that. They also batted like Pujara, started slow but if you want to raise your fingers at Pujara we can’t say anything.
“This is the guy whose solidity allows stroke-players at other end to play their strokes. They are assured that Pujara is holding one end."
Gavaskar added that India should choose between Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill for the opener’s position along with Rohit Sharma after giving them a chance in a warm up match. Gavaskar said Gill has no footwork, which he has to work on.
“Mayank Agarwal has done well as an opener, has hit double century twice. It’s a good news that BCCI and especially Jay Shah has taken the initiative that India will play county matches. You can decide it there that who among Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal will open or India. Send both of them to open together, Rohit Sharma is a certainty and so he can be rested. The match will tell show has the better technique for English conditions," Sunil Gavskar told Sports Tak.
“Gill has no footwork, he goes forward only. In India also he does not even try to go and play on the back foot and he plays across the line because of the same reason. Changing the balance while getting on the back foot because of the short length, it gets difficult. He will have to work hard, there is no doubt on his talent."
India are set to play England in five Tests.