Cheteshwar Pujara has been the batting mainstay for India in Test cricket. His compact batting technique provides India much needed solidity at number three. But, things aren’t going well for Cheteshwar Pujara in the last couple of series.
South African pace bowler, Dale Steyn, who has played against Pujata a couple of times, feels that the Saurashtra-born batter has cut down on playing shots off his backfoot which is holding the batsman down in Test cricket.
Highest score by Indians in WTC Final.
Rohit Sharma – 64 Runs
Ajinkya Rahane – 64 Runs
Virat Kohli – 57 Runs
Rishabh pant – 45 Runs
Shubman Gill – 36 Runs
Ravindra Jadeja – 31 Runs
Ravichandran Ashwin – 29 Runs
Cheteshwar Pujara – 23 Runs @ImRo45 #RohitSharma pic.twitter.com/RDTNEGqesQ
— HITMAN ROCKY 💔 (@HITMANROCKY45_) June 23, 2021
Steyn, in a recent interview with Espncricinfo, said:
Out of my memory, I just remember Pujara playing great off his legs. Very, very good off his legs, and eyes underneath the ball. But I do remember him playing some magical cut shots and backfoot drives. Maybe on pitches that a little bit quicker – and Indian wickets are not quick – he played some beautiful balls underneath his eyes through the cover. It’s a part of the game that I feel he has lost.”
Pujara lasted 54 balls, scoring 8 runs in the first innings and 15 off 80 in the second, failing to score big against New Zealand in the ICC World Test Championship final, at Southampton. He edged Kyle Jamieson’s good length delivery to Ross Taylor at first slip, a dismissal which Dale Steyn says he does not expect from a batsman of Pujara’s stature.
That shot today that he played, if he was in a better position, a couple of years maybe, he would have gotten more on the backfoot and punched it through the covers, whereas he just stood there half and half on his front foot. Overall a very soft dismissal – running it down to first slip is a very peculiar way of getting out for a top batter.”
In this day and age of technology, Dale Steyn feels Pujara needs to be more proactive as the bowlers will definitely work a way to dismiss him.
“That’s the thing I have seen lacking in Pujara. I’m so used to him rocking onto his backfoot and playing with his hands and good feet movement. He’s kind of lost that part of his game. And if you’re only hanging on the front foot, good bowlers will not bowl half-volleys to you. And you’ve got to turn good balls into good shots. That’s the difference between Test cricket and First-Class cricket. He’s missing out on a lot of runs there.”
Cheteshwar Pujara averaged just 22 in India vs England in the Test series which took place earlier this year. With India scheduled to play five tests in England against the home team, all eyes will be on India’s batting pillar.