India's Test cricket team captain Virat Kohli has revealed that he had a discussion with Cheteshwar Pujara and instructed him to up his scoring ante during the recently concluded tour of the West Indies. Anil Kumble, the newly appointed coach, also had some inputs in the discussion and had expressed concern over the Test specialist's strike rate. India's former chairman of selectors, Sandeep Patil, told ABP News about Kohli's directions.
At the end of the Kanpur test against New Zealand, Kohli spoke about Pujara's capabilities and why the team needs the dependent batsman. "Pujara is someone who absorbs the pressure really well but after a certain stage in the innings there comes a time when the team needs runs.
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"That's where we felt that he has the ability to capitalise. It was just about conveying that to him. He has worked hard on his game. He scored at a good strike rate in the Duleep Trophy. Even on this wicket, he was scoring at 65, almost 70 strike rate," said the Indian Test skipper.
Pujara took part in the Duleep trophy after returning from the West Indies and found his form. He scored 166 off 280 balls, 31 off 35, and 256 off 363 in the three innings he played in the tournament. He even scored at strike rates of above 50, playing more scoring shots, against New Zealand on his way to 62 and 78.
Kohli said Pujara's change in his batting style was a revelation for him and praised the top-order batsman's tenacity at the crease.
"He used to bat that way initially. Especially at home. If you see his double-hundreds against England and Australia, he will dominate spinners. That's exactly what we wanted him to do.
"We didn't want him to go into a shell. We want Pujara to bat to his potential. Once he starts scoring runs to go with the composure he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of the game. That's all we wanted to convey to him."
"He's someone who understands what the team wants. He has worked hard on his game. He has come back, and he is playing more positively. Which we appreciate as a team and me personally as a captain. That he has actually gone and worked hard on his game. He has not told us this is my comfort zone and I am not going to get out of it. That is the kind of characters we need to win games and series," Kohli concluded.
India take on the Kiwis at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in a Test match starting on Friday where they will look to seal the three-match series.