In a rare incident, India batter Cheteshwar Pujara batted for both the teams in the warm-up match ahead of India’s rescheduled fifth Test match against England. Notably, India are playing a four-day practice game before the Test match against Leicestershire which was when this incident happened.
While Pujara had batted for Leicestershire on Day 2 of the game played at the Grace Road, Leicester, he played for India in their second innings on Day 3 of the match. Other than Pujara playing for Leicestershire, several other Indian players including Prasidh Krishna, Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah also played for the County club.
In addition, India’s net bowlers, Navdeep Saini, R Sai Kishore and Kamlesh Nagarkoti also bowled for Leicestershire during their second bowling innings. The primary reason why such an arrangement was possible as the match hasn’t been recognised as an official first-class fixture. This means that the teams had already reached a pre-match agreement for the playing conditions.
Perhaps the team management felt that Pujara needed more batting practice and hence was given an opportunity to bat for both the teams. Interestingly, the conventional batting order was also not followed with Shubman Gill opening the batting alongside KS Bharat in the second innings. While Kohli came in as low as number seven, he did manage to find some runs and hit a fine half-century before eventually being dismissed by national teammate Jasprit Bumrah.
Meanwhile, some have raised question regarding Rohit Sharma as he did not come into bat in India’s second innings. Given how things have turned out, it may not be a surprise if Rohit comes out to have a bat when Leicestershire are playing. The other possibility is that he may be feeling confident about his stroke-making in the nets and hence may have decided to give the opportunity to others.