Who will be Mayank Agarwal’s opening partner? Who will replace Virat Kohli at No.4? Is there a case for Rishabh Pant? What about KL Rahul? Seldom has an Indian team looked so uncertain ahead of a crucial Test match like the one against Australia set to begin from December 26 in Melbourne. Seeing their opponents unsure, doubtful and down on moral is an opportunity the Australians rarely let go but this Australian side is a bit different. Instead of hounding the already battered Indian side with verbal warnings, they expect India to rise from the debris – perhaps 2018-19’s result has a lot to do with it.
India may still be scratching their heads to fill some big holes in its XI – the biggest one being created by the departure of Virat Kohli, who was flown back home for the birth of first child – Australia spinner Nathan Lyon said India have got enough players to fill in the “big hole” left by talismanic skipper.
“…Ajinkya Rahane and (Cheteshwar) Pujara, just to name a couple. But you still got the likes of (KL) Rahul and (Mayank) Agarwal, who have been exceptional as well, so there is (are) enough guys in that squad to fill Virat’s shoes,” he said.
Also Read | ‘Don’t believe me? Ask Ashwin and Natarajan’, Gavaskar cites ‘different rules for different people’ in Indian dressing room
Lyon’s kind words, however, doesn’t mean they are not preparing for the battle. He said the Australians are planning to foil Cheteshwar Pujara’s defence in Melbourne.
Ahead of the Boxing Day Test, Lyon has disclosed that the hosts have done their homework in taking down India’s No. 3 as his wicket is a challenging one for them. Speaking in the pre-match virtual presser, Lyon said that the Aussies were happy to have executed their idea against Pujara successfully in the first Test, however, they have a couple of more tricks to perform.
“I can’t reveal secrets, to be honest with you. But, obviously, Pujara is a world-class batter and he is going to be a big challenge for us for the rest of the series,” Lyon said at a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
Also Read | ‘We’re similar in a way but very different,’ Lyon says he can’t compare himself to R Ashwin
“We spoke about him (Pujara) in-depth, before the series started, it was good to see a couple of plans come off in Adelaide, but we have got a couple more things,” he added.
Lyon went on to say that he loves to challenge himself against some of the best in the business and Pujara is one of those players.
“So, hopefully, if he does get in, we can put into ploy…it is always fun challenging yourself against the best players in the world and Pujara is definitely one of those guys,” Lyon concluded.