Chinks in Cheteshwar Pujara’s armour:-
Cheteshwar Pujara is considered as the best player of India in space bowling. He did just that during India’s tour of Australia, where he disappointed their main spinner Nathan Lyon with a huge artificial display of batting in four Tests.
However, India’s No. 3 batsman has fought in the ongoing home Test series against England. He has been dismissed six times so far in the series – all but against the spinners (the other has been run out).
Scores against Jack Leach seemed more inconvenient than that, surprising when one considers the Pujara record against slow left-arm spinners. Prior to this series, the 33-year-old had taken five wickets in his long 64-Test career at an average of over 1,160 against the SLA bowlers! So, where are the priests?
Throughout the tour of Australia, Cheneshwar Pujara had a simple strategy – to play a defensive stroke against Nathan Lyon. The Indian batsman undoubtedly has a tough defense, and this national tactic complimented his style of play.
In contrast to the arrival of the right-handed ball, Pujara found it easy – for his indomitable defensive tactics on the Australian background – to fight Nathan Lyon.
This continued in the first innings of the first Test against England, when he scored 733 for 143 to give India a respectable total. Pujara battled right-arm spinners Dom Bass and Jack Leach, and has deviated from the craze numerous times, not only defending, but occasionally breaking his arm.
If you notice, Pujara pushes Leach for a boundary in a perfect delivery in this six. In contrast to the slow left-arm, it became significant to keep a foot on the length of delivery, although Leach realized that much while bowling in the second inning. From there he began to pull his length back a bit in contrast to the puja. As a result, the risk involved in taking action against Lech increases, as the ball naturally begins to move away from the right-hander.
This forced Pujara to stay back at his crease and tweet about the way he has been defending during this time. In the second innings of the same Test, Pujara is at his crease, not even taking a big step as he pulled the ball back a bit from the crease. As a result, he had no confidence in his stroke, as he almost tried to play when the ball was kissing the bat towards the first slip.
The ball turned away significantly from Pujara in the first innings of the second Test, as he played the wrong line.
Pujara’s dismissal in the Pink Ball Test and the first innings of the fourth Test were almost identical. His design for the pad presentation came back first because he put the line in front of the Leach of Stump. Twice he was out for leg-wicket.
Fourth Test, first innings dismissal:
Pujara, known as the new ‘Wall’ of Indian cricket – a nickname that must have been qualified by incredible performances throughout his career – has been stuck outside his comfort zone in the last few Tests. His place in the team cannot be questioned because of his great performance in the white team after the resumption of cricket last year, his outing in the England series must have sounded a warning bell.