India vs Australia: Team India performs better in Virat Kohli’s absence, declares Sunil Gavaskar

Ind vs Aus: Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar believes Team India can actually benefit from captain Virat Kohli’s absence in the Test series as the Little Master said, ‘Indian players do tend to raise their game when Kohli is not around’.

Notably, Kohli will return home for the birth of his first child after the opening Test in Adelaide and will miss three games of the four-match Test series.

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While some of the cricket experts believe that a Kohli-less side might lose the grip over the trophy, batting legend Sunil Gavaskar has opined that the 32-year-old’s absence pushes the other players to up their game, which has been witnessed in the past.

“If you actually have a look, India have won every time Virat wasn’t there, be it the Dharamshala Test against Australia, the Afghanistan Test, Nidahas Trophy or the Asia Cup in 2018. Indian players do tend to raise their game when he is not around. They understand they have to make up for his absence,” Gavaskar told Times of India.

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India vs Australia: Gavaskar says Rahane and Pujara have to bat out of their skin

Gavaskar believes Kohli’s absence is a huge opportunity for Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara to take on the challenge and further improve their performances.

“It’s going to be tough for Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Both these players have to bat out of their skin. Captaincy will actually help Rahane. He will feel a lot more secure and in control of situations. The selection committee is clear about who should lead in Virat’s absence and he has done well as a Test captain,” Gavaskar said during an interaction arranged by Sony Network.

“Pujara should be allowed to play the game he knows best. That’s what got him here. You don’t tamper with a player’s natural aptitude or temperament. Like you never told Sehwag how to play, nobody should be telling Pujara how to get runs as long as he is getting the runs and the hundreds,” Gavaskar added.

“If he is let alone and no pressure is put on him, that’s going to work in India’s favour.”