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"Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma need to play the game that has got them to the Test level" - Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar wants the Indian batsmen to be selective in their strokeplay
Sunil Gavaskar wants the Indian batsmen to be selective in their strokeplay
Kartik Iyer
ANALYST
Modified 18 Jan 2021
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Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar has said that Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma should play their natural game on the final day of the series-deciding Brisbane Test.

However, he added that the duo needs to be a little cautious with their shot selection.

The India-Australia series is intriguingly poised at the end of the penultimate day of the final Test. The visitors need a further 324 runs on the final day of the fourth Test at the Gabba, with all ten wickets in hand.

An Indian victory or a drawn Test will help the visitors retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, while Australia needs to win the match to regain it.

During a discussion on the Sony Sports network, Sanjay Manjrekar asked Sunil Gavaskar how the attack-minded Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma should play under the given circumstances.

The former Indian opener responded that the enterprising duo should play their normal attacking game, while also being a little selective in their strokeplay against the red ball.

"They need to play the game that has got them to the Test level. They just need to be a little careful about their shot selection because it is about the red ball. Both the seam bowlers and the spinners get a little more help with the red ball as compared to the white ball. They need to keep that in mind and play shots accordingly," said Sunil Gavaskar.

Sunil Gavaskar said that the Indian team can even entertain thoughts of a win if their top-order batsmen can give them a solid foundation, and if Rishabh Pant plays a blazing knock like the one he did on the final day of the Sydney Test.

"If we get a good start from Rohit and Shubman and after that Pujara and Rahane play a supporting role, then if Rishabh Pant plays a knock like he played in Sydney, we can reach close to a win," he added.
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"The Indian team should not think too far ahead" - Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar wants the Indian batsmen to play according to the merit of the delivery
Sunil Gavaskar wants the Indian batsmen to play according to the merit of the delivery

Zaheer Khan also asked Sunil Gavaskar about the likely mindset of the Indian batsmen while playing on a pitch that has so many cracks.

The Little Master replied that the cracks should not trouble the batsmen too much as they are not in the good length areas.

However, he said that short-pitched deliveries could have variable bounce if they land on the cracks, and asked the Indian batsmen to be a little wary about that.

"The cracks are in the middle of the pitch. There are very few at the good length spot. There could be a problem if someone tries a bouncer and it hits the crack, it will not take that much bounce if it falls on the leather part but if it falls on the seam anything can happen. So, they will have to be careful of that while batting," observed Sunil Gavaskar.
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Sunil Gavaskar signed off by stating that the Indian team can pull off a win on the final day if they stay in the moment and just think about playing one delivery at a time.

"But I would say they should play session by session. They should play according to the merit of the ball, whether to hit a four, take a single or defend it. They should not think too far ahead about playing 80-100 overs but just think how they are going to face the next ball. If they play like that, I feel they can even win this match," the 71-year-old added.

While all the cricketing aficionados will be hoping for a riveting final day of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the Brisbane weather could have the final say.

A truncated day's play will certainly reduce the possibility of an Indian win and leave them with no other option but to play for a draw.

Published 18 Jan 2021, 16:19 IST
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