Sunil Gavaskar urges batters to trust their game in challenging conditions

Cheteshwar Pujara plays a rare pull shot.
Cheteshwar Pujara plays a rare pull shot.

Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar believes the mantra to succeed in challenging conditions is to trust one’s game rather than batting with a predetermined approach.

The 72-year-old noted in his column for The Times of India that when teams travel to India, they know pitches conducive to spin bowling will be on offer. Therefore, the batters need to counter the conditions with patience and technical adjustments.

Drawing parallels between playing in India and New Zealand, Sunil Gavaskar wrote:

"When teams come to play cricket in India, they know they encounter pitches where the ball is likely to turn on the first day of the Test. However, if one goes in to bat with a predetermined approach, then that is more likely to fail. One needs to fight the conditions, make the adjustments and show the patience that playing spin demands.
"Even on pitches with grass on it, as India found in New Zealand last year, the batsman must trust his game and make the adjustments mentally to grit it out and look like an idiot at times but not give up the fight. This thinking that there is going to be a delivery sooner than later with one’s name on it is defeatist and negative."

Citing an example of a predetermined approach, Sunil Gavaskar mentioned Cheteshwar Pujara getting out trying to hook in the 2020-21 Christchurch Test after scoring a gritty fifty, spending over three and a half hours in the middle.

"We saw Pujara in New Zealand getting out trying to play the hook shot because of them being made to believe not to trust his usual game and try something different. The 'get out of jail' shot is what it is called in modern parlance, but there have hardly been any jailbreaks seen even after the odd shot succeeds," the former opener added.

During the recently concluded Mumbai Test, Ross Taylor perished to similar tactics, looking to slog every ball out of the park.

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Sunil Gavaskar praises Daryl Mitchell and Henry Nicholls

Sunil Gavaskar praised New Zealand batters Daryl Mitchell and Henry Nicholls for the way they approached their second innings in the Mumbai Test.

Chasing 540, New Zealand collapsed for 167, handing India its biggest win (by 372 runs), but the 73-run fourth-wicket stand between Daryl Mitchell and Henry Nicholls provided New Zealand some cheerful moments.

While Nicholls held the fort, Mitchell, playing his first Test in India, exhibited great defense and attacking skills to counter the Indian spinners before perishing for 60.

"What Daryl Mitchell and Henry Nicholls showed was the right approach, and till Mitchell got carried away and tried to repeat a lofted shot and got caught, the Kiwi pair looked in no trouble at all," Sunil Gavaskar further said.

Concluding his column, Gavaskar hoped that the Indian batters would trust their game and show patience in testing South African conditions for their Test series starting later this month.

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Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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