Pujara, Vihari will travel to Dubai on October 25
Indian batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari will fly to Dubai on October 25 ahead of the impending tour Down Under. Notably, majority of the Indian coaching staff will also accompany the duo on the flight. It is understood that head coach Ravi Shastri is expected to join the group in Dubai a day later. Here is more on the same.
Besides the two senior batsmen, the core group will also comprise Vikram Rathour (Indian batting coach), Bharat Arun (bowling coach), and R Sridhar (fielding coach). Notably, Pujara and Vihari are the only first-choice Test specials who are not playing the ongoing IPL. Upon reaching UAE, the contingent will link-up with a bigger group (30 players), that will head to Australia after the IPL final.
The final itinerary for the tour is yet to be announced by Cricket Australia. However, it has been learned that the tour will commence from the white-ball leg (three T20Is and ODIs). This will be followed by the four-Test series (Border-Gavaskar Trophy).
According to the proposed schedule by Cricket Australia, the pink-ball Test is scheduled to be held at Adelaide Oval from December 17-21. Notably, this will be India's maiden D/N Test overseas and only their second overall. While Melbourne will remain the venue for Boxing Day Test (December 26-30), the following two Tests will be played in Sydney (January 7-11) and Brisbane (January 15-19).
Both Pujara nor Vihari haven't played much cricket since returning from the New Zealand Test series in February. The duo was a part of Team India that sealed a historic series win (2-1) Down Under in 2018. Pujara emerged as the leading run-scorer in the series with 521 runs and three hundreds. Meanwhile, Vihari too showed endurance against Australia's pace attack.
Previously, the New South Wales government gave approval to the Indian touring party and Australia's IPL-bound players for quarantining and training in Sydney. The government approved CA's bio-security plan for Indian squad. Although the Indian contingent could train in Sydney, the size of groups is yet to be ascertained. Notably, the Australia-India Test series will be a part of the ICC World Test Championship.