Pujara needs to improve his T20 skills to get picked by franchises: Virender Sehwag

Pujara needs to improve his T20 skills to get picked by franchises: Virender Sehwag

After a 5-day break, Kings XI Punjab will now take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday.

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag. (Photo Source: Twitter)

He might have scored tons of runs in the home Test season, but Chetashwar Pujara still didn’t manage to get an IPL contract. The 29-year old remained unsold in the IPL auctions for the third consecutive years. Pujara last played in the IPL for Kings XI Punjab in 2014.

He has also played for the Kolkata Knight Riders as well as the Royal Challengers Bangalore. His IPL record isn’t great as he has managed to score just 390 runs in 30 games at an average of 20.52 and a strike rate of 99.74, which is well below the modern-age rate.

Virender Sehwag, the current coach of Kings XI, played with Pujara during his time with the franchise in 2014. Punjab plays another ‘Test-specialist’ Hashim Amla at the top of the order. Amla has had a phenomenal season so far this year scoring 299 runs in 7 games at an average of 59.8.

His strike rate of 140.74 has helped him shed his Test cricketer tag. Sehwag feels that the South African adapts to the format really well which sets him apart from someone like Pujara.

“Amla knows how to adapt to different formats, he knows how to play in what situation. As far as Pujara is concerned, he played for us but may be the hopes we had from him he did not come up to that expectations.

“But this happens when you play only one format, it becomes difficult to play in other format. Pujara’s reputation is that of a wonderful Test batsman and not T20. Hope in coming years, he will improve his skills for the shorter format and hope he gets picked by some team next year.”

Amla’s contributions to Kings XI this year have kept them in the fray for the playoffs. Though with 3 wins from 7 games, Punjab still have a lot of work to do to seal a berth in the top 4.

“Amla is among top five to six batsmen in world cricket. He is an asset. He is talking to youngsters like Manan Vohra and results are coming. He is a nice person and a great player,” the former India opener said.

Sehwag was confident of Punjab’s chances saying that they require winning at least 4-5 games out of their remaining 7.

“Out of remaining seven matches we will have to win 4-5, only then can we qualify for the playoffs. What is more important than win is the process to achieve that, which is playing good cricket in all departments. In last match, we showed that,” he said.

“What sometimes happens in a long tournament is that you seldom tend to give a consistent performance, but when your bowlers perform and batting unit clicks, then win becomes easy.”

After a 5-day break, Kings XI Punjab will now take on Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday. They will play at the PCA stadium in Mohali for the first time this season, which is their official home ground. Punjab had adopted the Holkar Stadium in Indore as their ‘home’ for three games.