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Cheteshwar Pujara is someone who absorbs pressure well: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli
(Photo Source: BCCI)

While Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara were wielding their blades in the Caribbean, the Indian skipper was on the ascendency. However, as far as Pujara was concerned, it was somewhat clear that the 28-year old had something adverse in his game. He was not only at the receiving end of a considerable amount of flak but also dropped a game that the Indians claimed a hard-fought victory in.

However, in the context of the ongoing series, Kohli revealed that he had a word with the batsman regarding scoring runs at a faster pace as compared to the ‘waiting game’.

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“Pujara is someone who absorbs the pressure really well but after a certain stage in the innings there comes a time when the team needs runs,” Kohli said at the end of the Kanpur Test. “That’s where we felt that he has the ability to capitalise. It was just about conveying that to him. He has worked hard on his game. He scored at a good strike rate in the Duleep Trophy. Even on this wicket, he was scoring at 65, almost 70 strike rate.

“Which for me was a revelation, to see Pujara bat that way. Because he used to bat that way initially. Especially at home. If you see his double-hundreds against England and Australia, he will dominate spinners. That’s exactly what we wanted him to do. We didn’t want him to go into a shell. We want Pujara to bat to his potential. Once he starts scoring runs to go with the composure he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of the game. That’s all we wanted to convey to him.

Kohli also went on to enumerate the fact that Pujara was someone who understood the game properly as well as a hardworking individual.

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“He’s someone who understands what the team wants. He has worked hard on his game. He has come back, and he is playing more positively. Which we appreciate as a team and me personally as a captain. That he has actually gone and worked hard on his game. He has not told us this is my comfort zone and I am not going to get out of it. That is the kind of characters we need to win games and series.”

“One thing we have spoken about is we want to play a certain brand of cricket. Along those lines, personal performances will happen or won’t happen. If they happen, yes you feel good about them, but the eventual target is to win games and win series. We want to be a high-quality team for a long time. It’s just to get them rid of those pressures of individual performances. Once you take pressures of your own performance things can flip very quickly. You will not be able to play the way the team wants you to play. And you will not be able to perform on a personal level as well.”

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