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Sunil Gavaskar explains how Men in Blue 'raise their game' without Virat Kohli

05:36 PM Nov 21, 2020 |

With the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League concluded, the Men in Blue are now in Australia for the upcoming tour which consists of 3 ODIs and as many T20Is, followed by 4 Tests.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli will only be available for the first Test after which he will leave to be with his wife Anushka Sharma who is due for delivery in January.

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However, Sunil Gavaskar feels Kohli's absence will be good for the squad as the players can capitalize on the situation to put up exceptional performances as a team without their skipper.

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Speaking to TOI, Gavaskar said: "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 added that this will be a tough time for Ajinkya 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 with Sony Sports.

"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.

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

"He is so rock steady, the others can score around him and play shots."

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