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Pujara explains why Dhoni promoted him to number three over Dravid on debut

by Wisden Staff 3-minute read

Chetehshwar Pujara, while in conversation with Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz, explained why MS Dhoni decided to promote him to No.3 on his Test debut and push the veteran Rahul Dravid to five.

Pujara, Dravid’s successor for the No.3 spot in the India Test side, revealed how it was Dravid who first suggested he bat up the order for his state side Saurashtra.

“He always suggested that I should be batting up the order,” Pujara said. “If I am a good player, then there is no point for me to bat at No.5 for Saurashtra. The reason is the ball is old, and most of the times the bowlers get tired after a partnership. If you are playing in Rajkot, it becomes really difficult for a bowler.

“If you are batting at No.5, you wouldn’t face the new ball and it’ll be an easier situation to bat in, but if I’m batting at three, there is more responsibility and even the bowlers are fresh. If you’re batting at five, most of the times you’ll end up facing the spinners. If you want to get better against fast bowlers, No.3 is the ideal position.”

Recalling his debut against Australia in Bengaluru in 2010, Pujara revealed that with India chasing 207 in the second innings, Dhoni didn’t want him to bat him in a pressure situation, in case of a collapse, and took the decision to promote him.

“For me, it was an opportunity, because, after the first innings, I thought I wouldn’t get the opportunity to bat in the second innings, because I was batting at five,” he said. “Suddenly Mahi bhai told me that I’ll be batting at No.3 and he also told me the reason that, because I am a youngster, they don’t want me to be under a lot of pressure.

“If Rahul bhai is batting at number five and there is a collapse, he can handle the situation. But if I’m batting and there is a collapse, there will be a lot of pressure on me. So they just told me that go out, enjoy your game and play positive cricket.”

Pujara scored 72 runs in the chase as India won the match by five wickets.

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