Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, Indian
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Image Credits: Twitter

Indian middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane has backed under-fire Cheteshwar Pujara after a string of low scores in recent times. Questions were raised on whether Pujara should continue to be backed at a position as important as No.3 considering he hasn’t done anything of note for a while now.

Following the defeat to New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, Virat Kohli had mentioned the lack of intent – a word that has become synonymous with the captain. Many people reckoned it was an indication of where Pujara’s future was heading. However, Rahane shut down such rumors and mentioned that Pujara was a vital cog in their batting line-up.

“Pujara is our No 3 batsman. Who will open the innings, we are still finalizing our combination. Pujara has been really solid for us at No. 3 and as for opening pair, the captain, coach, and management will decide,” Rahane said.

Cheteshwar Pujara

When asked about ‘intent’, Rahane claimed that the batsmen need to back themselves and stick to a particular method that has worked for them over a period of time.

“Obviously, we sat together and discussed our batting plans but in England, it is challenging conditions for a batsman. Everyone has different plans and everyone needs to back his own methods. Communication is key for a batting unit but individually I feel everyone should back their own methods because conditions change quickly over here in 15-20 minutes sometimes. It’s about getting used to conditions quickly. As a batting unit, we are ready,” the Vice-Captain asserted.

Ajinkya Rahane is hopeful of lower-order contributions to the team total

A problem that India has faced is the inability of the tail to contribute towards the fag end of the innings. Since India has a long tail, Rahane mentioned the possibility of seeing Shardul Thakur in action. The CSK all-rounder shone in his first venture in Australia, picking up seven wickets while scoring a fifty that enabled India’s comeback in the final Test at Gabba.

“Everyone is different. Hardik what he did in 2018 was different for us. Shardul can bat. You have seen Shardul bat in Australia and he did well in domestic cricket as well.”

“Cheteshwar Pujara Has Been Really Solid for Us at No.3” – Ajinkya Rahane

“Bumrah, Shami, Siraj, Umesh, and Ishant are putting in the effort in the nets. Whatever 20-30 runs we score in the end matters a lot. It’s good that they are wanting to bat for at least 10-12 minutes in the nets. See, the result comes later but what is important is the process and working hard and contribute as a member of the team. We are hoping for some contributions from our tail-enders,” Rahane concluded.

Team India is all set to take on England in a five-match Test series, the first of which, will begin from August 04 at Nottingham. The series between the two sides will also kickoff the ICC World Test Championship (2021-23).