Rahul Dravid says Cheteshwar Pujara,who succeeded the former India captain at the crucial number position in the Test side,has it in him to be a successful player in ODIs as well.
Seen by many as one who could go on to be an able successor to the former great,Pujara has an average of 65 after 13 Tests,having scored four hundreds and three half-centuries,and Dravid believed the Saurashtra batsman “approaches” Test cricket the way he did.
“He’s had a great start to his international career,in fact a much better start than I did. I think he has been brought up in the old school of batsmanship. He is developing more shots and he approaches Test cricket in the same way as I did,” Dravid said.
The 40-year-old was speaking at ‘A Day with Dravid’,an ESPNcricinfo event in which nine cricket fans from across the world got the chance to interact with him.
Pujara hasn’t made his ODI debut yet,but in 61 domestic one-day matches Pujara averages 56.97,with eight hundreds and 17 fifties.
“He’s got some good basics in place. You can see that he is constantly improving and he is someone who will find answers to questions. He is going to have his ups and downs and face a lot of challenges adapting to different forms of the game and conditions.
“With his attitude and the way he is going about playing his cricket,I think he will find answers to a lot of these questions and one of them will be one-day cricket.”
Dravid felt that for Test cricket to survive,it needed better scheduling,with more matches for all teams.
“One thing I’d like to see definitely is scheduling to be a lot better,and the ability for most countries to play a lot more Test cricket.
“I’d love to see all the teams get the opportunity to play a lot more cricket against each other. I think it will really see Test cricket come up and improve,and the only way for it to survive is to play it as often as possible.”
Dravid said adapting to bounce was something he found difficult to adjust to while batting overseas early on in his career.
“I wanted to do well abroad in conditions that I wasn’t used to. One of the things I found difficult adjusting to was bounce early on in my international career.
“When I went to Australia,South Africa or England for the first time,I would see some of the foreign top-order batsmen leave balls on length.
“Indian batsmen’s instinct was to play at those balls because if you left those balls in India,they would probably hit the top of off or middle stump. That ability to adjust to
that bounce and know which ball to leave instinctively on length,especially early on in your innings,was one of the most difficult adjustments to play.”
Dravid expressed admiration for contemporary players who have mastered the art of playing the switch hit.
“I can’t imagine the way some guys pull that off. When I see someone like a (Kevin) Pietersen or (David) Warner pull it off,you can see the value of the shot. If you were to play the switch hit,then the wide rule should change as well.
“You should allow the bowler to bowl outside the off stump. I think it’s an incredibly skilful and difficult shot to play and I’m all for it as long as you give the bowler
protection as well.”