WTC final: Hopefully India will cross the finish line this time, says Cheteshwar Pujara


By India Today Sports Desk: Veteran India batter Cheteshwar Pujara said on Monday that the preparations that India players have managed to get in the lead-up to the World Test Championship final has made him hopeful that the team can get past the finish line in the big final, starting June 7. India will take on Australia in the summit clash at the Oval in London.

India lost to New Zealand in the final of the inaugural edition of the WTC but the Asian giants earned themselves another opportunity to battle for the big prize.

World Test Championship Final: Full Coverage

Quite a few India players, including Virat Kohli, Pujara, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj, landed in the UK early as they left for England before the playoffs of the IPL 2023. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane Shubman Gill, and Mohammed Shami joined the team a week in advance after featuring in the playoffs of the T20 tournament.

Unlike others, Cheteshwar Pujara was in England for close to 2 months, leading Sussex in County Championships Division 2. Pujara played alongside Steve Smith for Sussex, scoring 545 runs, including 3 hundreds, in 6 matches.

Pujara, speaking to ICC 2 days ahead of the final, Cheteshwar Pujara expressed confidence in the experience of the Indian batters in English conditions. The likes of Kohli, Pujara, and comeback man Rahane are playing in the UK for the 3rd or 4th time in their careers.

“We have had very good preparation so hopefully this time we will cross the line,” Pujara told the ICC.

“Most of the guys have played enough cricket here and some of them have played County cricket too. And you need that experience…we know each other’s strengths and we have played a lot of cricket against Australia as well so we know what to expect from the opposition team.”


Notably, head coach Rahul Dravid, who spoke to the press in London on Monday, touched upon the value of Pujara’s county stint, adding that his experience of leading Sussex will come in handy.

“Yeah, we certainly have had conversations with Puji. About obviously about batting, but he also leads Sussex. So he has a good idea about the kind of tactics and the strategy that is used by the County bowlers that he has played with, so we have had some conversations in and around that. We will see how we can maybe incorporate some of that,” Dravid said.

India will bank on Cheteshwar Pujara to score big as they face a high-quality Australian pace attack at the Oval. India will have good memories of the venue as they won their last Test here in 2021 against England.



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