Pujara last scored a Test century in the Sydney Test against Australia in 2019. Since that knock, the dogged batsman has scored 841 runs in 18 Tests, at an underwhelming average of 28.03.
During a discussion on Star Sports, VVS Laxman pointed out that Team India will rely a lot on Pujara during the upcoming India-England series as he bats at the critical No.3 position. He said:
"There is no doubt that Pujara will be mindful of the lean patch he is going through, as far as scoring those big fifties or scoring those hundreds and you expect a lot from Pujara at the No.3 position because that is a very important position along with both the openers."
The former Indian batsman wants Pujara to replicate the performances given by Rahul Dravid during India's successful past tours. VVS Laxman explained:
"In 2002 and 2007, the reason behind our victories on those two tours was because our top order and our No.3 batsman, which was Rahul Dravid, they fired. Once the top order sets a very good foundation, it allows the middle-order batsmen to come and play their natural game and while doing that you post a very healthy total in the first innings and you are always dictating the terms."
Cheteshwar Pujara does not enjoy a great record in England either. The 33-year-old has scored 523 runs in ten Tests at a lowly average of 27.52.
"Ajinkya Rahane is a very important member of this Indian batting lineup" - VVS Laxman
While speaking about Ajinkya Rahane, VVS Laxman termed him a pivotal member of the Indian batting lineup. He elaborated:
"Ajinkya Rahane is a very important member of this Indian batting lineup, especially in overseas conditions. I still remember the way he batted at Lord's, in Melbourne and also the way he batted in South Africa was instrumental in India winning those Test matches."
However, the 46-year-old highlighted that the Indian vice-captain has been found wanting against short-pitched bowling of late. VVS Laxman observed:
"The one thing I feel that Ajinkya Rahane has to sort out is his game plan against short-pitched deliveries. We saw that in the series against New Zealand, we also saw that in the World Test Championship final."
VVS Laxman signed off by stating that Rahane needs to exercise some caution and refrain from playing an aggressive shot off every short delivery.
"It almost was the game plan of the opposition bowlers to set him up with a barrage of short-pitched deliveries and Ajinkya Rahane has got only one option, which is to play the pull shot but when you are playing at the highest level you should also know which ball to play the pull shot and which ball to let go."
Apart from his recent discomfort against short-pitched bowling, Rahane has also not been too successful in England. The stylish batsman has aggregated 620 runs at a below-par average of 29.52 in the eleven Tests he has played on English soil.