Former India spinner Maninder Singh opined that Cheteshwar Pujara and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane do not give off confidence when they are at the crease and don’t look like contributing runs to the team’s cause.
This comes after India was bowled out for 78 runs in the first innings of the third Test against England being played at Leeds. James Anderson blew away the top order with wickets of KL Rahul (0), Virat Kohli (7), and Cheteshwar Pujara (1). Though Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma crossed the double-digit mark, the Indian batting collapsed after the lunch break as they lost 4 wickets on the score of 67 and were eventually bowled out for 78.
Talking on ESPNCricinfo, Maninder Singh spoke about Cheteshwar Pujara’s ultra-defensive batting and said that he is short of confidence at the moment.
“See, Cheteshwar Pujara, to be honest, never gives me confidence in conditions like this or England grounds. Because he goes into too much of a defensive mode, and then what happens is that you miss out on deliveries on which you could score runs, rotate the strike, and take the pressure off yourself. But if continue to play 4-6 balls in an over, you are going to nick one and that’s what happening with Pujara. So he has to be a little proactive and keep thinking how to get runs and put pressure on the bowler,” Maninder Singh said.
Ajinkya Rahane Doesn’t Look Like Giving You That Confidence: Maninder Singh
Another player mentioned during the discussion was vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and the former left-arm spinner opined that he had high regard for the Mumbai lad when he started out, but he, like Pujara doesn’t look like giving you confidence.
“Ajinkya Rahane doesn’t look like giving you that confidence of scoring a half-century in the last match. That was important contributions and the 50s that Pujara and Rahane got in the last game counted. Rahane is one player I used to think will be a fantastic player in the future, but he doesn’t look confident and doesn’t look like getting you runs when he’s batting,” Maninder said.
Both Rahane and Pujara had shown some return to form when they added 100 runs in the second innings of Lord’s Test, but things went back to normalcy in the third Test.