Former BCCI Secretary and Selector Sanjay Jagdale has slammed those who are criticising Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for his batting style. Jagdale claimed that no one can accuse Cheteshwar Pujara of batting slowly, especially after the same technique had already won India Test matches in the past.
Cheteshwar Pujara has come under criticism for his form in recent days. The No.3 batsman was accused of being too slow in the 1st innings of the India vs Australia Tests, where he scored 43 of 160 balls. He then got out for a duck in the second innings, which proved to be the start of the Indian cricket team’s disastrous batting collapse on Day 3.
“That is how he plays. We won the series with Pujara scoring 3 hundreds. So, we can’t accuse him of playing slowly because that is his way of batting. You cannot accuse him of not winning matches for India, because he has done that in the past. Both in Australia and on subcontinent wickets,” said Sanjay Jagdale.
Former BCCI Sanjay Jagdale selector backs Cheteshwar Pujara
Speaking to Indranil Basu on SK Live, Sanjay Jagdale was asked about the conversation around Cheteshwar Pujara’s low strike rate while batting in Tests. Jagdale, who has been a staunch supporter of Cheteshwar Pujara’s place in the longest format of the game, pointed to his stellar record the last time India toured Australia in 2018-19.
“How can we forget him for winning the two Test matches for us in the previous tour? He got 3 Tests hundreds, and he batted (last time) as he is batting now," Jagdale said.
Cheteshwar Pujara famously finished as the Man of the Series during the 2018-19 series, scoring 521 runs at an average of 74.42. In addition to scoring 3 Test hundreds, the top-order batsman ended up facing more than 1,200 balls. Many praised Pujara for spending long hours at the crease and tiring the Australian bowlers out.
Reiterating the same qualities, Sanjay Jagdale compared Pujara to Rahul Dravid. The former selector claimed that Test teams need batsmen like Pujara who can bat for long hours, as the time they spend at the crease can end up saving a match.
“You need a batsman like Pujara especially if the Test match is over in 3 days. If he could have batted for 2 days, we could have saved the Test match. There’s always space for a batsman like him in Test cricket,” he argued.
Concluding the discussion, Sanjay Jagdale explained that Cheteshwar Pujara cannot change his batting style at this stage of his career. The former BCCI Secretary expounded that the batsman is good at what he does and he can’t suddenly become an attacking batsman.
Although Cheteshwar Pujara has come under pressure after the 1st Test, it was primarily because he failed to kick on in the 1st innings after getting settled at the crease. The No.3 batsman has a clear role set for himself in the Test side, which is to blunt the attack and tire out the opposition bowlers while others around him score at a quicker rate.
As long as Cheteshwar Pujara manages to do that, he will remain a valuable asset for the Indian team in the longest format of the game.Published 23 Dec 2020, 13:29 IST