England vs India: Ravi Shastri has no issue with Pujara’s scoring rate neither does he want him to do a Bolt
Cheteshwar Pujara is an important cog in the wheel for India in Test matches.
Updated - Jul 30, 2018 1:48 pm
Team India’s head coach Ravi Shastri buried all speculations over Test No.3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara by backing the out-of-form batsman and stressing on his role in the five-Test series against England starting in Edgbaston on August 1. He also said that he had no issues with Pujara’s scoring rate and that he did not want him to be an Usain Bolt, referring to the batsman’s recent spate of runouts.
Pujara will go into the series with not much scores to speak about. He had an ordinary stint with Yorkshire this summer (172 runs in 12 innings); didn’t score much in the one-off Test against Afghanistan at home and also failed to deliver against Essex in the three-day warm-up game at Chelmsford, scoring 1 and 23.
The 30-year-old’s batting average overseas is far lesser than his overall figures and even worse in England but according to Shastri, he just had to play one big knock to return to form.
“It [run rate] is not a concern for me at all. He has a role to play. He knows his role, because No. 3 is an important role,” Shastri, 56, told ESPNCricinfo.
Backing Pujara as an “anchor” and “pillar”, Shastri said: “You know what he does – he loves batting (smiles). We just want him to do it.”
“We have seen once he gets in, he makes it count. He is one player who will really make it count and hold the innings together, so he becomes important”
“He’s an extremely experienced player. I feel he is one innings away [from a big score]. He needs to spend time at the crease. If he gets one 60-70 under his belt, he will be a different player altogether. My job is to make sure he is thinking in that fashion,” the head coach said.
‘We don’t want him to be Usain Bolt’
Shastri also brought to focus Pujara’s twin runouts in the second Test in Centurion against South Africa earlier this year, which saw India sliding at crucial stages to lose the game and hence the series before making it 1-2.
“Unfortunately, in South Africa, he was run out a couple of times [in the same Test in Centurion]. That is something we don’t want,” the former Indian captain said.
“We don’t want him to be an Usain Bolt, we want to him to be Pujara. Stay there at the crease. The last thing you want to do is give your wicket away to a run-out.”
India are looking to regain their lost pride in England after the annihilation they faced in 2011 and 2014 when they lost the series 0-4 and 1-3, respectively. India last won a Test series in England in 2007 when Rahul Dravid led them to a 1-0 win.