Vodafone Test Series v India
Pujara shakes off rust as India turn attention to Tests
India's players take part in some Test-match training sessions on Tuesday as Cheteshwar Pujara looks to replicate his record-breaking campaign from two years ago
18 November 2020, 06:56 AM AEST
Australia's nemesis Cheteshwar Pujara is confident he will shake off nine months of rust before the first Test starts, also backing India's pace attack to trouble Steve Smith, David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne.
Pujara was the difference during India's maiden Test series win in Australia two years ago, batting for more than 22 hours while scoring 521 runs across the four matches in 2018-19.
It was a man-of-the-series performance Australia's attack will not forget easily and underlines why India remain a threat despite Virat Kohli departing after the first Test for the birth of his first child.
Test specialist Pujara is one of two players in the visiting squad who did not take part in the Indian Premier League, meaning he hasn't played a competitive game since March.
The 32-year-old, who will have two tour matches to warm up ahead of the first Test in Adelaide, isn't complaining.
"This is a situation that has impacted millions of lives and people have lost lives," Pujara told the Press Trust of India.
"I am happy if I am able to practise, do my fitness, running sessions and move my body well, which I did.
"During the last tour, my preparation was good. I am confident that I will be able to repeat the same preparation before this series."
India’s players are currently in quarantine in Sydney for two weeks, however they’re allowed to train in a tightly controlled environment during their 14 days of isolation after they were granted an exemption from NSW Health.
While a six-match white-ball campaign starting on November 27 is their more immediate focus, India took part in some Test match simulation at training on Tuesday.
Love test cricket practice sessions ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/XPNad3YapF— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) November 17, 2020
Pujara, who is on track to pass 6,000 Test runs this summer, will be central to India's hopes of winning the series.
Potent paceman Jasprit Bumrah, who snared 21 Test wickets at 17 during India's previous visit, is another player that Australia coach Justin Langer will be analysing in depth.
Bumrah will confront a notably better batting order compared to two years ago, when Smith and Warner were both serving year-long suspensions and Labuschagne started the series outside the XI.
"No doubt Smith, Warner and Marnus Labuschagne are great players," Pujara said.
"Our bowling unit will also not be very different to what it was in 2018-19.
"They know how to be successful in Australia as they have enjoyed success there in the past.
"They have their game plans in place and if we can execute them well, they are capable of getting Smith, Warner and Labuschagne out quickly. If we can do what we have done in the past, I am sure we have every chance of winning the series again."
India Tour of Australia 2020-21
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Australia ODI & T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey , Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
India Test squad: Virat Kohli (c) (first Test only), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur.
India T20I squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan
Dettol ODI Series v India
First ODI: November 27, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT
Second ODI: November 29, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT
Third ODI: December 2, Manuka Oval, 2.40pm AEDT
Dettol T20 INTL Series v India
First T20: December 4, Manuka Oval, 7.10pm AEDT
Second T20: December 6, SCG, 7.10pm AEDT
Third T20: December 8, SCG, 7.10pm AEDT
Australia A v India A, December 6-8, Drummoyne Oval
Australia A v Indians, December 11-13, SCG (day-night)
Vodafone Test Series v India
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG, 10.30am AEDT
Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT
Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 11am AEDT
*The matches and travel remain subject to any relevant government restrictions or requirements.