Tue, 21 Sep 2021

New Delhi [India], August 3 (ANI): Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar wants star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara to believe in his abilities and carry on playing the way he plays in the longest format of the game.

India and England will lock horns in a five-match Test series beginning Wednesday at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The series will mark the start of the second cycle of the World Test Championship.

In the inaugural WTC final, Pujara failed to leave a mark as he registered scores of 8 and 15 in the two innings respectively. Gavaskar said Pujara's method has worked for him and he should trust his abilities in the games ahead.

"I think he has got to trust his pattern and if the team doesn't trust that method they have to look at maybe bringing somebody else in. But his method has worked for him and India. He has held the fort at one end while the batsman at the other end has played his shots, knowing that there was a solid player at one end. So I think he's got to believe in himself and carry on playing as he knows well because he has done a fantastic job for India over the years," said Gavaskar while replying to a query from ANI.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday informed that opening batsman Mayank Agarwal has been ruled of the first Test against England. BCCI also said the 30-year-old batsman is stable and will remain under close medical observation.

Last month, KL Rahul scored a century for the Indians in the three-day warm-up game against County Select XI. The batting line-up failed but Rahul along with Ravindra Jadeja was the shining light in the first innings.

"KL Rahul scoring a hundred in the warm-up game, I think he should be the person who should open for India in the first Test. Also, on the back of a hundred Rahul has the confidence, he's the one who should open the batting," Gavaskar opined.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that England men's all-rounder Stokes will take an indefinite break from all cricket with immediate effect. The legendary batsman admitted that the absence of star players has weakened the English side.

"Ben Stokes has been a game-changer with both bat and ball and him not playing is a huge advantage for India. Also, the absence of Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes has weakened the England side," said Gavaskar.

ECB said Stokes has withdrawn from England's Test squad for the series against India to prioritise his mental well-being and to rest his left index finger, which has not fully healed since his return to competitive cricket earlier this month"It's definitely tough to play in the current situation no doubt about it. What would help centrally others who are possibly going through similar circumstances is we get to know the actual reason. So, if Stokes would come out and say look this is the reason why he took the break, it will certainly help a lot of other younger players who might be undergoing a similar kind of situation," Gavaskar added.

India's tour of England will be live on SONY SIX, SONY TEN 3 channels from 3.30 pm IST on August 4. (ANI)

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