Renowned Australian coach Dave Whatmore heaped praised on Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara for playing a key role in India’s hard-fought series win over Australia.
Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Trucoach-CSS Whatmore Centre for Cricket here, he said Jadeja has become a better player in Tests.
Having worked with Jadeja during his under-19 days, Whatmore said that the Saurashtra all-rounder had kept improving over the years and showed in the series that he was more than just a limited overs player.
Jadeja and Ashwin, he said, “made for a formidable duo and complement each other very well and were also very good batsmen”.
The former Sri Lanka coach said it will be interesting to see how Jadeja performs in overseas conditions.
Further, he said the fans would soon realise the value of a player like Pujara, who is dubbed a “Test specialist”.
“The team would be aware of the value he brings to the side. Fans will also come to know how important he is as a player in the lineup. He has demonstrated great skill and patience in Tests and has been a vital part of India’s victories.
“As much as he (Pujara) would love to play ODIs, it is hard to see him break into the team, given how strong it is currently.”
Whatmore said India did very well to win the series which was “a dogfight” between two quality sides.
“You have to give credit to India for fighting back after losing the Pune game. In Bengaluru, they batted their hearts out and demonstrated the ability to bat long and win key moments.”
He said though the Aussies did a great job by drawing the Ranchi Test, they lost the decider in Dharamsala because they failed to capitalise on good situations.
He felt rookier India spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the reason Australia was restricted to 300 despite being in a strong position.
Lavishing praise on the Chinaman bowler, Whatmore said, “he is different and will develop in the days to come. We have to give him time”.
He, however, said that the Australians did very well and surprised a lot of people with the performance in India.
Whatmore singled out captain Steven Smith and paceman Pat Cummins for their performance and said that it was nice to see the latter return after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injuries.
Looking ahead to the ICC Champions Trophy, Whatmore said India had a very strong team and should be among the favourites to win the title.
About the forthcoming Ashes series, he said Australia would be slight favourites as they were playing at home but said England were a good Test side.