'Pujara is waiting': Shastri warns as Gill falters

Thanks to opener Yashasvi Jaiswal’s unbeaten 179, Team India managed to reach 336-6 at stumps while batting in Visakhapatnam in the India vs England 2nd Test. India is trailing in the five-match series 0-1. The way Jaiswal has batted so far, it appears that the team would easily get past 400 tomorrow, and that would give them psychological edge over the visitors.

India’s star-studded battline line-up appears quite formidable on paper, as the team management has made up its mind to look beyond the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to make a fresh team, which is going through a transition phase. But the way Shubhman Gill has performed since he decided to bat at number three has puzzled many cricket pundits. The immensely talented youngster has not looked comfortable in this slot and has so far failed to score even a fifty in this important position.

Amid these developments, the calls to bring back veteran Cheteshwar Pujara back to the test team are getting louder. Even today, the Indian middle order failed to capitalise on the good starts, as Shubman Gill scored 34 off 46, Shreyas Iyer 27 off 59, and debutant Rajat Patidar made 32 off 72. All these batters got good starts and spent time in the middle, but just when they looked settled, they lost their wickets. After Shubhman Gill failed, India’s former all-rounder and famous commentator Ravi Shastri fired a warning shot, saying on air that though the Indian side is young, they need to prove themselves.

“It’s a fresh side, a young side. These youngsters have to prove themselves. Don’t forget, Pujara is waiting. He is grinding it out at the Ranji Trophy and is always on the radar.”

After India lost the first Test against England in Hyderabad despite dominating the proceedings during the greater part of the match, many questioned the weakness of India’s middle order, which hasn’t looked solid in the absence of Virat Kohli, who had taken a break from two Tests due to personal reasons. Since relinquishing his opener’s slot, Shubhman Gill hasn’t produced any big knocks on No. 3 position, which is very crucial in the longest format of the game.

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Roy Walsh

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