Former cricketer Rahul Dravid has backed Indian bowlers to take 20 wickets on a regular basis in the upcoming four Tests against Australia but he feels that the visitors need someone to score over 500 runs in the series to have a chance of retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under.
It was Cheteshwar Pujara who stood like a rock in the middle on the last tour in Australia, scoring 521 runs in the 7 innings he played at an average of 74.42 with three centuries, a fifty and a highest score of 193.
Pujara’s knocks helped India blunt the famed Australian bowling attack consisting of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon. The other Indian batsmen rallied around their star middle-order batter to score more runs than the home team.
With Virat Kohli returning home after the series-opener in Adelaide, India will be looking at Pujara once again to repeat his heroics this year as well when they take on Tim Paine’s Australia in the four-match series starting December 17.
“Who is going to be our Pujara from last time?,” Rahul Dravid said during a webinar, organised by L&T Financial Services Mutual Fund’s annual conclave The Winner’s Circle.
“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 showed confidence in the Indian bowling unit to perform like they did in Australia in the 2018-19 Test series but said that it will be crucial for the visitors to find a Pujara-like performance in the batting department.
“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?.
“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,” Dravid said.