Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Test batting stalwart Pujara Retires Hurt Due To Stiff Neck
Cheteshwar Pujara ran through a bad experience as he suffered a stiff neck during the opening day of Saurashtra’s Ranji Trophy opener against Chhattisgarh in Rajkot on Thursday, forcing him to retire at the worst scene.
The India Test batting stalwart had complained of discomfort today morning because he was attempting to play with an open stance. Then he went on to bat at his usual No.3 position. He faced only 64 balls and managed to score 30 runs before leaving the field after a discussion with team physio.
Saurashtra head coach identified as Shitanshu Kotak later clarified that the injury was not a serious one. “He will be ready to bat on Friday if required,” Kotak told ESPNcricinfo.
Pujara made up his mind to slice the blade at least two games of Ranji Trophy ahead of the tour of Australia. The right-hander will be looking forward to performing well in Australia after a dismal outing Down Under four years ago. As far as his last tour is concerned, he had played three matches and managed to garner just 201 runs including only one fifty, which is far too less for a player of that calibre.
What has happened has happened for Pujara and he will look to make his presence count for the Australia tour which provides a perfect opportunity to better his overseas record. Statistically, Pujara sounds good in the home conditions but not the same case in the overseas conditions. In Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, Pujara averages just 29.30 from 21 matches.
India has a big challenge ahead as their tour of Australia features 3 T20Is, 4 Tests, and 3 ODIs. The heavyweights will spice it up in the captivating three T20Is before resuming the epic rivalry in Tests. The first of four-match Test series is scheduled to be played from December 6, 2018, at Adelaide Oval.
The second Test will be at the Perth Stadium and will kick-off from December 16. Then, after a week’s break, the two teams will jet off to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test which starts on December 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The fourth and final Test will begin from January 3, 2019, at Sydney Cricket Ground.
Post the Test series, the two sides will resume rivalry in ODI series, the first of the 3-match ODI series will be played in SCG on January 12 and the tour will come to a close with the third ODI at MCG on January 18.