The trio is averaging less than 30 since the start of 2020 and while Virat Kohli has still chipped in with few good knocks, it’s the form of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane that is a greater cause of concern, feels former Indian seamer Ashish Nehra.
While Virat chipped in with a crucial 42 in the first innings of the ongoing Lord’s Test, Pujara and Rahane endured yet another forgettable outing as they managed 9 and 1 respectively before James Anderson gobbled them with the off-stump line
More than runs, Ashish Nehra believes that it is how the duo is getting which is more concerning.
Cheteshwar Pujara once again fell while poking at a wide delivery and, according to Nehra, the gritty Indian No.3 has struggling to counter the opposition bowler’s play of bowling stumps-to-stumps to him.
“It’s not like it’s been two or three matches. See, Virat Kohli has still hit a few half-centuries, getting into the 40s, but Pujara and Rahane are the real worrying signs, especially the way that they are getting out. They are senior players so it’s obvious that they know their game well. But in this case, it all comes down to temperament and how they come out of it,” Ashish Nehra said on the Sony Sports Network.
Pujara hasn’t scored a Test hundred since January 2019 and in his last ten innings, his highest score has been 21.
“Against Pujara, the bowlers have come up with this plan that since he does not score too many runs, we will bowl wicket-to-wicket line to him to get him either bowled or LBW. In this innings, Anderson bowled the sixth-seventh stump line to him to get him out caught in the slips,” Nehra added.
As far as Ajinkya Rahane is concerned, Nehra reckoned that while the vice-captain scored a match-winning ton as stand-in skipper against Australia in Melbourne, he has failed to take any confidence from that knock.
Since the Boxing Day Test, Rahane has managed just 269 in 14 innings at an average of 19.21 with just one half-century.
“With Rahane, it’s that fourth and fifth stump line that he is getting out to. If you look at Australia, he scored a century at Melbourne, but given how he’s performed before and after that hundred, it doesn’t seem as if he gained any confidence from that innings,” he said.