NEW DELHI: It was a bit unfair on New Zealand. I felt there were no losers in the final and both teams should have shared the trophy.” That’s how India’s Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara summed up the World Cup final held at Lord’s on Sunday. In a thrilling encounter which went to a Super Over, England were crowned winners on boundary count.
A lot of talk post the summit clash has been on how ICC should do away with such a draconian rule. And Pujara also chipped in with his two cents on the matter. “It is up to the ICC to come up with ideas and then decide. It has never happened in a World Cup final before and hence the difficulty for people to understand the rule. Even I was not sure of the rule. But ultimately it was a great game of cricket and I’m sure this game will be remembered for a long time to come,” he said on the sidelines of a sports conclave organised by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) here on Monday.
India’s focus will now shift from 50-over cricket to the Test format as the inaugural ICC World Test Championships will officially launch with the Ashes series between England and Australia while India’s journey will begin with a two-Test series against West Indies starting August 20.
“The World Test Championships will increase the focus on Tests. Each and every Test and series will be important, especially those played away from home. Earlier, teams used to take the third Test lightly after winning the series 2-0 but you can’t afford to do that now with points on offer for every game.”
India’s long international season culminated with the Men in Blue making the World Cup semifinals. There is a high chance that skipper Virat Kohli and premier fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah might be given a rest for the upcoming West Indies tour. And Pujara feels that both deserve a break.
“Kohli and Bumrah are part of all formats, playing constant cricket, so they need rest. I’m not sure if they will be part of Test squad but from what I heard, they might not be there for ODIs and T20s. Either way, we have good young players and it will be a good opportunity for them to perform and show their talent.”
Pujara admits that facing Bumrah in the nets is as difficult a prospect as playing him out in the middle. “Bumrah is a challenging bowler to face even in practice. I remember in Australia, he was bowling really quick and it was tough to face him even on the practice wickets.”
Regarding his own preparations, the 31-year-old said, “I have already started my preparations for West Indies. I’ve been playing some league games in Chennai. We will play a practice game as well once we land in West Indies. That will be another good way to prepare. I have also been training back home, trying to simulate fast and bouncy conditions in Rajkot, as we might encounter them during the Test series.”
Shaw yet to recover from hip niggle, doubtful for WI
Young India opener Prithvi Shaw said he was not sure when he would recover from his hip injury, which he had suffered during the Mumbai T20 League. That has put a question mark over his participation in the away Test series against West Indies.