Mumbai: Rahul Dravid on Friday, backed Cheteshwar Pujara, who replaced him at number three in Indian Test team batting order, to come good in the One-Day Internationals like he did in his career. (Cheteshwar Pujara turns to bowling in nets to cement ODI spot)
"Speaking from my own personal experience and as someone who was being seen (basically) as a Test player, Pujara can certainly make a mark in one-day cricket. I was able to develop and build my game for one-day cricket, (which) I played successfully for quite a long time. I have no doubt that Pujara has the ability and the skill to do that," said Dravid at a promotional event on Friday.
Dravid was referring to his early struggles with the limited overs format and then his evolution as a wicketkeeper-batsman that helped him cement a place in the ODI team. "I don't see any reason why he (Pujara) cannot succeed in one-day cricket with the way he bats in Test matches, the way he rotates the strike, the kind of shots he plays all-round the wicket and scores runs at a pretty decent rate in Test cricket. I don't have a doubt he will do well in one day cricket," said Dravid.
The 41-year-old retired batting stalwart said, though Pujara has not been able to force his way into the playing eleven after being inducted into the Asia Cup squad, he will get his chances in the near future.
"I am happy to see he has got into the Indian one-day squad. At the moment and obviously with the number of young players in the Indian team he is not able to get enough playing time. Hopefully, that will come. There are tours of England and Australia coming up and someone like him will get a little more playing time to prove himself and do well.
"Obviously, he is fighting in a cramped middle-order at the moment. That is the challenge for him. Just hopefully he can get opportunities as and when possible and make the best of them. And if he does then I feel he has a role for India," said Dravid.
Dravid was of the opinion that off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, whose overseas record (outside the Indian sub continent) has been dismal in contrast to his sparkling one in home conditions, should be given a longer rope to succeed in alien environs. "We have to be a little more patient with him and give him that freedom and scope and judge him when given enough opportunities.
We should judge our guys in a fair manner and judge them on standards and set tough standards for them. But also give them a fair-enough run and not on the odd matches here and there. It becomes extremely difficult to judge bowlers on that," said the Bangalore stalwart.
"These couple of tours (England and Australia) are going to be important for him as well. He has got a bit of experience in international cricket, but he has not played a lot in overseas conditions. He has played only three or four matches."
Asked about Anil Kumble's view that India should always play two spinners, even in unhelpful conditions outside the sub continent, Dravid said he supported the five-bowler theory with Ravindra Jadeja showing improvement as a batsman. "I would like to believe that should go into overseas series looking to play five bowlers.
We should go with five bowlers with Jadeja batting at 7. He is batting a lot better.
"It's just a fact that we were not able to finish off games. We got ourselves into positions to be able to win two games (one Test each in South Africa and New Zealand) and we didn't.
"Ideal scenario for me would be to somehow find a way to play five bowlers, because it will give you a chance to win. Going with two and two can sometimes be risky especially on the wickets we play on. Every time we go abroad, teams are giving us green wickets. In that kind of scenario, when you are forced to bowl first, it can be tough.
Dravid said that India need to ensure that once they get into a winning position they complete the task.
"I think Dhoni is as good a batsman as anyone is. Jadeja is improving. Ashwin is improving. We have to be brave to be able to win Test matches. Because we are getting into positions and we are not able to get those 20 wickets to be able to win Test matches.
"And that is a little bit of area we need to plug. We might get bowled out cheaply, sometimes because we have a batsman less, but we will also get a team out when we are in a position to do so with that extra bowlers.
"I won't blame only Dhoni. He has got a young batting line up. Traditionally, after Kapil Dev, we have not had the confidence of being able to say that we have a genuine all-rounder. We have not had that.
"All rounders of Kapil's quality come generationally. It's very, very hard to find that kind of quality. We have never had it traditionally. Fast bowling all-rounder, we have had one in our whole history. They don't come very easy unfortunately."