Former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif has leapt in defence of Cheteshwar Pujara who is facing criticism for his slow approach with the bat in the ongoing Test against Australia. Known for his slow batting, Cheteshwar Pujara hardly went for any scoring shot during India’s first innings of the ongoing game at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
The right-handed batsman hit his slowest fifty in Test cricket, taking 174 balls to get to the landmark. And just two balls later, he was sent back by Pat Cummins as India collapsed to 244 all out from 195 for 4. Following his dismissal, Cheteshwar Pujara has faced criticism from several quarters with not only the fans but some former cricketers also questioning his intent.
And amidst all the criticism, Mohammed Kaif has defended the India star. The former batsman took to Twitter to defend Cheteshwar Pujara and asked the criticism to ‘have a heart’. He pointed out that the batsman came to Australia after 9 months of no cricket and he is a Test specialist not a slog over white-ball cricketer.
“Will this Test go the distance? Did India need to score quickly and declare? Pujara came to Australia after 9 months of no cricket. Have a heart, please don’t talk about the slow rate, remember this is Test cricket not slog overs of a white ball contest,” Mohammad Kaif tweeted.
Will this Test go the distance? Did India need to score quickly and declare? Pujara came to Australia after 9 months of no cricket. Have a heart, please don't talk about slow rate, remember this is Test cricket not slog overs of a white ball contest
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) January 9, 2021
Earlier in the day, the batsman had himself hit back at the critics. When asked about his slow batting, Pujara made it clear that ‘he bats only in the manner he knows’.
“The way I was batting today, I was really confident. The way I got out today, I have to accept that. I could not have done anything better, I would rather focus on the things I need to do as a batsman. I just have to bat in the manner I know to bat, even as a batting unit, you need to build partnerships and bat well as a unit,” Pujara had said.