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Cheteshwar Pujara responds criticism over his strike rate, says 'nothing wrong if a batsman takes time to score runs'

  • Pujara admits that he cannot score as quickly as the likes of Virender Sehwag or David Warner.
  • Says team management back him completely over his batting style and approach to the game.
Sai Teja
ANALYST
News
Modified 19 Mar 2020, 19:39 IST

Cheteshwar Pujara against Australia
Cheteshwar Pujara against Australia

Cheteshwar Pujara has responded to claims regarding his poor strike rate and tendency to score at a slow rate, saying that there is absolutely no problem in doing so because he believes in his ability and style.

The Indian No.3 batsman has a strike rate of 46.2 in Tests, highlighting the pace he scores runs at. However, he believes that there is no pressure on him from the team's side and that they understand his approach to the game.

Pujara said,

"I don’t think there is too much talk (on the inside). In media, it is described differently but the team management has been backing me on this completely. There is no pressure from the captain, coach or anyone else."

The 32-year-old continued,

"I just want to clarify that when it comes to strike rate people start pointing towards team management’s take on it but there is no pressure on me at all. The team management understands my style of play and its importance."

The top-order batsman has a superb average of 48.6 in 77 Tests for India, which reiterates his reliability at the top and the standards he maintains. In the recently-held Ranji Trophy Final, Pujara, playing for Saurashtra, scored 66 runs off a whopping 237 balls against Bengal. This eventually led to questions being asked about his approach.

Pujara went on to say,

"The question that was asked on social media (during Ranji final) was ‘why am I taking so long to score X number of runs’? Whether I pay attention to that, no, I don’t. My job is to make sure that the team wins at all times."
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"People have this tendency to pinpoint one person but it is just not about me. If you look at any Test series where I have scored runs and taken little bit of time, the opposition batsmen, most of them, have consumed same number of balls."

A specialist in the longer formats of the game, Pujara candidly spoke of how he is very well aware of the implications of his approach and how many others view the game differently. He stood by his excellent average in Tests and made it clear that others' perception does not drive him, but his performances do.

"I know I can’t be a David Warner or Virender Sehwag but if a normal batsman takes time there is nothing wrong in that. People expect big knocks from me. I always challenge myself to score a 100 but to average close to 50 in Tests means you are scoring a half-century almost every second innings."

Pujara, like every other sports professional at the moment, is spending some much-needed time at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak all over the world. The outbreak has led to the suspensions of almost all top sporting leagues in the world including the Premier League, NBA, French Open, UEFA Euro 2020, and many more.

The IPL, too, is in jeopardy as the decision on the 2020 edition of the tournament is yet to be made.

Published 19 Mar 2020, 19:39 IST
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