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"Once we knew Kohli was going to miss the last three Tests, Cheteshwar Pujara was the big wicket for me"- Pat Cummins

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara
Modified 11 Feb 2021

Pat Cummins explained how Cheteshwar Pujara was the big wicket for him once Virat Kohli left the series after the first Test of the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

The Australian fast bowler dismissed Pujara five times in eight innings, but the India no.3 held fort and made some vital contributions to help the visitors win the series 2-1.

Cheteshwar Pujara finished the series with 271 runs, which he scored at an average of 33.88. More than his runs, though, his dogged determination to see out probing spells thwarted the Australian bowlers.

Pat Cummins talked about how Cheteshwar Pujara was the rock in the middle order, especially after his contribution in the 2018-19 series win.

"Once we knew Virat (Kohli) was going to miss the last three Tests, (Cheteshwar Pujara) was the big wicket for me. He was the deciding factor in the series a couple of years earlier - he was their rock in the middle order - and I felt a big part of the series battle would be played out against him." Cummins said in an interview with Cricket Monthly.

Speaking of Cheteshwar Pujara's ultra-defensive approach, Pat Cummins thought that the 33-year-old would try to adapt and play a bit more proactively as the series went on. However, the Indian batsman stuck to his guns and carried on with his defensive mindset.

"After the first two games, in some ways, I thought he might have had to adapt to try to take the game on a little bit more and put pressure back on the bowlers. But if anything, he went the other way. He went, "No, I know my game so well, I'm going to just bat and bat and scoring will take care of itself," said Pat Cummins.

Cheteshwar Pujara batted out 928 deliveries in the 2020-21 Test series against Australia . He might not have hit the heights of the 2018-19 series, where he scored 521 runs in four games at an average of 74.4, but it was enough for India to win back-to-back Test series in Australia.

Pat Cummins praises Cheteshwar Pujara for sticking to his process

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins

Pat Cummins also talked about Cheteshwar Pujara's defiance on the final day of the Gabba Test, where the latter decided to take the short balls on his body.

The Australian seamer said Cheteshwar Pujara's approach took the sting out of his bowling.

"You feel like you're getting closer to a wicket each time they cop a bruise, and like they're going to have to change their game and start fending or take the game on a bit more. So for someone to stay with their process the whole time, it does take the sting out of that short ball a bit," said Cummins.

Australia might have suffered a disappointing defeat, but Pat Cummins showed why he is the top-ranked Test bowler; he picked up 21 wickets, the most by any player in the series, and deservingly won the Man of the Series award.

Published 11 Feb 2021, 11:20 IST
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