Pujara, Rahane will have to do that extra in Australia Tests: Cullinan | Cricket News – Times of India

CHENNAI: Former South African batting mainstay Daryll Cullinan shares a great bond with India. Not only did Cullinan make his Test debut against India back in 1993, he also played one of his most memorable knocks — an unbeaten 122 that saved the game for his side against the sub-continental giants — during the 1996-97 series.
The 53-year-old is keeping a close watch on the ongoing India-Australia series and predicts a keenly-fought Test series starting from December 17 in Adelaide.
“Both are quality teams and will come hard at each other. Australia, in their own backyard, will always start as favourites but India are a tough side and it should be a keenly-fought series,” Cullinan told TOI on Saturday. Cullinan was here for the launch of the MS Dhoni-CSS High Performance Centre where he will be the director of coaching.
Cullinan, who featured in 70 Tests and 138 ODIs for the Proteas, feels the absence of skipper Virat Kohli — who goes on paternity leave after the first Test — will have an impact on the Indian team. “India will miss the attitude and competitiveness that Virat brings to the team. His sheer presence gives a boost to the Indian dressing room. However, with Virat not in the side, it’s an opportunity for others to step up. India have the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and others to shoulder the responsibility of scoring those crucial runs against a quality Australian bowling line-up,” Cullinan said.
Cullinan believes the Indian players will be accustomed to the conditions by the time the Test series starts. “When you come to a new country, adjusting takes time. A few of the players in the Test series are featuring in the limited-overs leg of the tour. The rest of the Test specialists have been training in these conditions and that should work in India’s favour ahead of the Adelaide Test,” he said.
Ever since Rohit Sharma helped Mumbai Indians win the IPL crown last month, there has been talk from a few former players suggesting that the T20 captaincy be given to him. Cullinan clearly isn’t in favour of this idea. “Has Virat done badly in T20s? No, he hasn’t. Then why change the captain. That’s my view,” he said.

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