The month-and-a-half long 50-over World Cup is over and the focus will now shift to the inaugural ICC World Test Championships. The championships will be culmination of bilateral series between the nine top-ranked Test playing nations on a ‘home and away’ basis from July 15, 2019 to April 30, 2021. The top two sides will then contest in the ICC World Test Championship final in June 2021.
The tournament will officially launch with the Ashes series between England and Australia while India’s journey will begin with a two-Test series against West Indies starting August 20.
“The World Test Championships will increase the focus on Tests. Each and every Test and series will be important, especially those played away from home. Earlier, teams used to take the third Test lightly after winning the series 2-0 but you can’t afford to do that now with points on offer for every game,” India’s premier Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said during a Sports Conclave in New Delhi on Monday (July 15).
After a fairly long international season, which included a semi-final appearance for India in the just-concluded ICC World Cup, it is expected that Indian skipper Virat Kohli and ace fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah will take a break from the West Indies tour.
Pujara too believes that Kohli and Bumrah deserve some rest after a long season. “Virat and Bumrah need a break because they have been playing non-stop and might not be playing ODIs and T20s against West Indies from what I have heard. We have a lot of young players to replace them and this might be a right platform to test them out,” Pujara said.
The ICC Test No. 3 batsman said that Bumrah is one of the hardest bowlers to face even in the nets.
“Bumrah is a challenging bowler to face even in practice. I remember in Australia he was bowling really quick and it was tough to face him on the practice wickets. He’s a lethal bowler especially on practice wickets which are not that well prepared,” Pujara said about Bumrah.
Pujara was the man-of-the-series for the series down under, scoring 521 runs in four Tests scoring three centuries and one fifty.
“I have been playing in Chennai league to get some match practice and then we should be having a one-week camp before we head to the West Indies. I have also been training back home, trying to simulate fast and bouncy conditions in Rajkot, as we might encounter them in the Test series,” he said.
The Saurashtra batsman said he had to turn down offer to join Yorkshire in County Championships this season because they wanted a longer commitment of 2-3 months.
“Yorkshire wanted a commitment of about three months but I couldn’t give them that because we had the West Indies series in the middle. I’ll consider a short county stint if they offer me something after the West Indies series,” the 31-year-old said.