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Opinion - Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara need to swap their batting temperament

Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli
Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli
Modified 26 Feb 2020

After an abysmal batting performance in the first Test against New Zealand, team India would be hoping for a quick turnaround in the second Test starting on 29 February. The team needs to quickly regroup, assess its mistakes and come up with a new approach for the second and final Test.

The Indian batsmen lacked the technique and the temperament of countering the swinging conditions. Young Prithvi Shaw's aggressive approach was no match for the experienced swing duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Cheteshwar Pujara's reserved approach served no purpose while skipper Virat Kohli's dismissals clearly showed the lack of patience.

Batting in Test cricket is all about assessing the conditions, match-situation and showing the determination to stay longer and play a gargantuan knock. It would be unfair to blame the inexperienced opening duo of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal.

After all, both are trying to establish themselves and seal their place in the side. Therefore it is fair that the middle-order with the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane take the responsibility and play with maturity.

Case in point, the innings of Pujara and Kohli in the first Test.

Pujara was unsure of himself, defending a lot of deliveries and waiting for that odd bad ball to cut loose. As a result of his circumspect approach, he went into a shell and never really got going. His dismissal in both the innings revealed that he was not quite sure of the deliveries that were bowled just outside off stump.

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Kohli on the other was hand was looking to dominate the bowlers. His attacking instincts proved to be his downfall in both the innings. In the first innings, he perished by chasing a wide delivery from debutant Kyle Jamieson while in the second, he got out to Trent Boult by attempting to play a hook shot. His inability to counter testing spells from the Kiwi bowlers and instead, trying to get over them through his attacking instincts proved to be a major folly in his batting.

So one thing that both these batsmen need to look into is their temperament and mindset. Frankly, there is nothing better both Kohli and Pujara taking a leaf out from each other and looking to emulate each other temperament heading into the final Test. If Pujara had the mindset of Kohli, he would be more free-flowing and innings building template would look methodical and complete. Similarly, if Kohli has the temperament of Pujara he shall have the ability to play out testing spells and curb the aggressive instincts.

So while the batsmen focused on technical things like having the right back lift and stance to counter the swinging and windy conditions, it is only the mindset that would reflect the attitude of a batsman while batting.

India would be hoping for a reversal of fortunes and for that to happen, the starting point would be to swap the temperament of Pujara and Kohli.

Published 25 Feb 2020, 19:14 IST
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