India Test captain Virat Kohli today gave a clear indication that Cheteshwar Pujara is likely to come back into the playing XI as an opener alongside KL Rahul in the series-deciding final Test against Sri Lanka.
Pujara last played for India against Australia in the ‘Boxing Day’ Test at Melbourne but since then have been out of favour in the last four matches. Kohli also indicated that rookie Karun Nair may also be tried out.
“Looking at these conditions, the reason behind getting someone like Karun Nair in was, we can have Cheteshwar Pujara open. He is pretty solid, and with the new-ball he has opened in the subcontinent before. I remember a couple of Tests where he has opened for India. That was the whole idea behind it,” Kohli said at the post-match press conference after India’s thumping win in the second Test here.
“And we have another exciting guy in Karun Nair coming in. But the idea behind it was getting Pujara to open along with Rahul and then that gives us even more batting options to play around with,” said the skipper.
In the end, the Indian skipper reaffirmed his faith in this young team and highlighted its ability to be flexible as a big asset going into a series-deciding match.
“We will try to stick to the same batting line-up. You need to figure out who’s playing well at that point and who can handle a particular position well. I think for a player it is important to figure out who could perform better at a position at that stage. I was talking about that flexibility we have in our batting order.
“Ajinkya can bat at nos. 3, 5 or 6. We know that Rohit can bat at no. 3 and 5. Both can bat well with the tail. The kind of versatility we have in our batting order that everyone is ready to bat at any position and that kind of mindset is important to win Test matches,” Kohli said.