Dilip Vengsarkar
Dilip Vengsarkar. (Photo: BCCI)

Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar has called for veteran Indian team batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to change their mindsets and look to improvise more and move the scoreboard if they want to rediscover their form. Both the batters are currently struggling to hold onto their places in the Indian playing XI due to poor form.

Both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have been under fire for their performances with the bat. Pujara has not scored a Test century since 2019 and Rahane has scored just one since 2020, a match-winning effort in Melbourne Test. But apart from that, both batters’ averages at in mid 25s and calls for the heads have started to gain momentum.

In the first innings of the ongoing second Test match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, both of them succumbed to pacer Duanne Olivier, while Pujara was out to a short ball at the point for a 33-ball 3, Rahane hung his bat outside the off stump to be dismissed for a first-ball duck.

Watch- “Red Ball Is Fun”- Deepak Chahar Troubles Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane With Swing In Nets
Watch- “Red Ball Is Fun”- Deepak Chahar Troubles Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane With Swing In Nets

I Believe Pujara And Rahane Have A Lot To Offer, Only If They Change Their Mindset: Dilip Vengsarkar

However, in the second innings, Cheteshwar Pujara took on the South African bowlers and ended the second day on 35* in just 43 balls with seven fours, which according to Vengsarkar is what these two struggling batters need at the moment.

Decoding their problems in the middle, Vengsarkar told TOI: “Unfortunately for Pujara, he plays only in the longer format and by not improvising while at the crease and going into his shell, he builds enormous pressure upon himself to perform.

Rahane, on the other hand, I feel is getting too much into the technicalities when his focus should be to score runs. He looked good in the first innings of the first Test but he needs to get out of that mental block of looking technically good instead of looking for gaps in the field and scoring runs.”

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

He further added that Pujara and Rahane, who are fighting to keep their places in the Indian XI with youngsters like Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, and Suryakumar Yadav knocking on the door, need to change their mindset to succeed.

There are younger players like Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shubman Gill, who would eventually take their places, but I believe Pujara and Rahane still have a lot to offer at the highest level, only if they change their mindset. After doing so well on tougher tours, instead of going forward and dominating the way Kohli and Rohit Sharma, in the recent past they haven’t progressed at the Test level as I would have liked them to.

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane (Image Credit: Twitter)

As a batsman, one can’t bat in the first gear always. One has to improvise and shift gears once set. It not only helps the batsman himself, but also the batsman batting with them,” Vengsarkar signed off.

India will resume day three of the second Test at 85/2 with Pujara and Rahane resuming their innings.

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