England vs India: Ravi Shastri has a 'surprise' in store ahead of the Test series

Shastri also sounded confident about Pujara's return to form.

Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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After a riveting T20I and ODI series, England and India will lock horns in the five-match Test series, which gets underway on August 1 at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Going into the five-day fixtures, Virat Kohli and Co have a few problems, surrounding team combinations, to resolve. India have to choose two among the three openers- KL Rahul Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay- for the playing eleven.

India recently played a warm-up match against Essex at County Ground in Chelmsford. Vijay and Rahul scored half-centuries in the first innings. Rahul also looked determined in the second innings. However, Dhawan couldn’t open his account in either inning. Meanwhile, Ravi Shastri, the head coach of the Indian team, talked about their opening combination ahead of the opening Test.

He is one player who will really make it count

“Rahul has been picked as the third opener. But our batting order will always be flexible. The third opener can play anywhere in the top four. We are a very, very flexible outfit. Be prepared for that. We will surprise you guys at times,” Shastri was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Cheteshwar Pujara is also in the middle of a tumultuous phase, having not been able to score runs on a consistent basis. He represented Yorkshire in the County Championship and managed only 172 runs in 12 innings. To add to his agony, the 30-year-old failed to hit his straps in the practice match as well. Nevertheless, Shastri reckons that the Rajkot-born player would be back to his best very soon.

“Pujara’s an extremely experienced player. I feel he is one innings away [from a big score]. He needs to spend time at the crease. If he gets one 60-70 under his belt, he will be a different player altogether. My job is to make sure he is thinking in that fashion.

We have seen once he gets in, he makes it count. He is one player who will really make it count and hold the innings together, so he becomes important,” the former cricketer added.

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