Former India wicket-keeper batsman Deep Dasgupta feels that the Indian middle-order has massively under-performed over the last two years. Dasgupta's opinion came after yet another middle-order collapse for India on Day 2 of the first Test against England. He noted that this should not be the case given the credibility and experience that the set of batsmen have under their belt.
The middle-order could only contribute to 9 runs in total as India collapsed from 97-0 to 112-4. India were still in a decent position following Rohit Sharma's dismissal at the end of the first session. However, a series of poor outings at the crease by the subsequent batsmen handed the momentum over to England.
Deep Dasgupta noted that Virat Kohli's first-ball dismissal was highly uncharacteristic of him. He added how Ajinkya Rahane has been looking fidgety at the crease. Speaking on his YouTube channel. Deep Dasgupta said:
"Very uncharacteristic of Virat. He Generally leaves a few deliveries while playing overseas, so it could be a lapse of concentration. Ajinkya Rahane looks very nervous and fidgety during the first 25-30 deliveries, which was not the case before."
"The Indian middle-order has really not fired for the last two years or so, with all those runs, experience, class, and performances. They haven't scored the big runs as consistently as India would have wanted."
Pujara looks like a different player altogether: Deep Dasgupta
Cheteshwar Pujara entered the tour with criticism over his strike rate and a poor home series against England earlier. He only mustered 4 runs off 16 deliveries before being dismissed by James Anderson. He had earlier survived a close LBW call courtesy of DRS.
Dasgupta claimed talk of poor strike rates might be playing a role as Pujara looks to score runs off the crease early. He said:
"He's looking like a different player. Over 6000 runs, but now he looks like someone who is under some pressure. He has not made any big runs in the last two years, which is an area of concern. It seemed like he was looking for runs straight away which is not usual, the ever present calmness was absent."
Dasgupta also added how Pujara might be fearing for his spot in the squad and felt making a comeback might be difficult. Prior to the tour, there was talk of dropping Pujara and playing either KL Rahul or Hanuma Vihari at No.4 with Kohli taking the No.3 position.
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"When you're being criticized as a 24-25-year-old, you know you can go back to domestic cricket and make a comeback. But at this age and stage of his career, it might be difficult."