Cheteshwar Pujara has opened up on the criticism he received over his slow batting in Australia. The Indian batsman admitted his strike rate was lower than usual in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, as he explained the reasons for the same.
Many criticised Cheteshwar Pujara’s slow strike rate during the Test series Down Under. While his strike rate was 41.41 when India toured Australia in 2018-19, it dropped down to 29.20 in the recently-concluded series. Although he scored three 50s, all of them came in over 160 balls.
In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Cheteshwar Pujara revealed why it took him longer than usual to get going against Australia this time.
“I came into the series having only done net sessions because of Covid. You need some first-class matches, and I got only one. So, to expect me to be in that rhythm, even with Steve Smith you saw it was difficult for him initially in the series,” Pujara said.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) January 22, 2021
Cheteshwar Pujara’s slow strike rate came under intense scrutiny during the first two Test matches against Australia. The 33-year-old was slammed by former players like Ricky Ponting for being too slow, which put pressure on the other batsmen.
The Indian batsman has now responded to his critics, explaining why his strike rate was so low in Australia. Cheteshwar Pujara said his failure to kick on and score big after getting starts was one of the reasons behind his meagre strike rate.
“Most of the time, once I get past 50, my strike rate goes up. This series, I didn’t go on and score big scores. But one can’t compare performances to 2018-19 because getting three hundreds and 521 runs in a series can happen only a few times in your career, in some cases, only once,” Pujara added.
Irrespective of his low strike rate, Cheteshwar Pujara did what he had to do for Team India. He occupied the crease for long intervals, which let the other batsmen score freely around him. Despite coming in for criticism over his batting style, Pujara finished as the second-highest run-scorer for the visitors in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
4️⃣ Tests, 9️⃣2️⃣8️⃣ balls.
This man proved to be an embodiment of sheer grit, determination and tenacity in the #AUSvIND series 💪🏻
Wishing our rock-solid @cheteshwar1 a happy 33rd birthday 🥳
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) January 25, 2021
Cheteshwar Pujara will be in action when India take on England in the upcoming four-match Test series. The right-handed batsman has a stellar record against the Englishmen at home. He averages 64.53 in nine home Tests against England, with four hundreds to his name.
Looking ahead to the England series, Pujara admitted that Team India will be high on confidence, following their triumph in Australia.
“All of us looking forward to this, because we are carrying the confidence of an away series win. Our morale is quite high. I am very confident of the side we have, and if we play to potential, we will be able to do quite well,” Pujara said.
The first India-England Test will be played in Chennai from February 5.
He takes body blows
Grinds it out in the middle
Braves it all & stands tall
81 Tests 🏏
6111 runs 👌
13572 balls faced 👏
18 hundreds 👍
Let’s relive one of his fine tons against Sri Lanka 🎥👇
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 25, 2021