Australia quick Pat Cummins regards Cheteshwar Pujara as the toughest batsman to bowl to in Test cricket, terming the India batsman a ‘pain in the back ‘. Cummins’ statement could well have to do with his experience of bowling to Pujara during the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, where the in-form batsman peeled off 521 runs from seven innings with three hundreds and a half-century, helping India to their maiden series win in Australia after 71 years. Also Read - ICC Test Rankings: Stuart Broad Moves to Third Spot in Bowlers Tally, Jasprit Bumrah Slips to Eighth Spot
“There are a lot of them out there, unfortunately. But I am going to go with someone different, and he is (Cheteshwar) Pujara from India. He was a real pain in the back for us,” Cummins said during a Question & Answer session arranged by the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA). Also Read - ICC Test Rankings: West Indies Captain Jason Holder Moves up to Second Spot in Bowlers List, Virat Kohli Static at Second Position in Batting Charts
“He (Pujara) was an absolute rock for them in that series. (He was) really hard to get out. Just ultra-concentration all day, day after day. He is the hardest one in Test cricket so far, I think.” Also Read - Kohli vs Cummins, Smith And Warner vs Bumrah a Tantalising Prospect: Langer
Pujara was also held in high regards by Australia head coach Justin Langer, who was in awe of the batsman’s concentration. “I have never seen a batsman watch the ball as closely as he (Pujara) does, and that includes Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. His concentration was a challenge. And we have to keep getting better just like him, all our batsmen and bowlers,” Langer had said in January.
“We have the best spinner and three outstanding pace bowlers, against the outstanding Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. So it takes some mental and physical energy out. There are new players and new staff for these three games, so that brings new energy to the group.”
Cummins, the No. 1 Test bowler in the world was at the top of his game in the series, and yet couldn’t stop run-machine Pujara, who was in red-hot form during the series. The vice-captain of the Australian Test team, Cummins was named one of Wisden’s top five cricketers of the year.
Since the India series Down Under, Cummins had maintained his wonderful form in Tests, scalping 63 wickets in just 12 games, including 29 wickets during the 2019 Ashes. He was also called the most complete fast bowler in the world by legendary Aussie pacer Glenn McGrath.