'Pujara was trying to score runs' - Ajinkya Rahane comes in support of his teammate

Rahane wants the team to play with a positive intent if they are to bat first.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane
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Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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Be it home or away, Cheteshwar Pujara has been a rock in the batting line-up for India. Irrespective of the conditions, he has always stood tall and contributed big time to some of the most memorable wins. He had a huge role behind India’s first-ever Test series win in Australia. However, the only complaint that we always end up hearing about him is that he plays way too slow.

While he has surely worked on this aspect of his game, his performance in the first Test against New Zealand has brought back the blemishes of the past. In the first innings, Pujara took 42 balls to score 11 before he was dismissed by an absolute peach from Kyle Jamieson. The next time, he struggled and scored the same number of runs from 81 balls. As a result, there has been evident criticism. However, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane has come out in his support.

Ajinkya Rahane thinks anyone can go through such a phase

“I thought personally New Zealand bowled very well in the first Test. Pujara did not get stuck according to me. He was trying to score runs. All their bowlers did not bowl any loose deliveries. It can happen, any batsman can go through this phase. Everyone’s game is completely different. As a team, we have to figure out how we actually play in the middle,” Rahane told reporters ahead of the second Test.

Ajinkya Rahane also informed that conditions weren’t changed much in Wellington. He said that Hanuma Vihari told them that the track for the first Test was much better. The number five batsman doesn’t want to think too much about the first Test.

“Whatever we got in Wellington, we got the same. India A played here. Hanuma told us that this wicket plays much better, there is a good pace and bounce on this wicket. The important thing would be to trust ourselves and not think about the first Test match. Sixty points would be at stake in the World Test Championship,” he said.

Rahane further informed that they didn’t yet make a decision about picking one between Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. He concluded by saying that they needn’t worry much about Shami and Bumrah. He wants the team to play with a positive intent if they are to bat first.