Cheteshwar Pujara might have got out cheaply in the first innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) final but India batting coach Vikram Rathour isn’t really concerned about the batsman’s form.
After the opening stand of 62, India lost three wickets for 26 runs as Cheteshwar Pujara departed in the 41st over reducing India to 88/3 against New Zealand in the second session of day two of the WTC final.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s Form Doesn’t Concern Vikram Rathour And He Was Pleased With The Way India Batted On Day 2
Cheteshwar Pujara’s strike rate has been a constant subject of debate for some time now and the India No. 3 did his stats no good on Saturday, scoring 8 off 54 balls. He took 36 balls to get off the mark and was eventually trapped in front of the wicket by New Zealand pacer Trent Boult.
“We are not really concerned and he is a good player. I don’t think the pace is an issue with him. I don’t think that’s a problem he has. Even today, till he batted, he looked solid and he has a role to play in the team and I think he is doing well,” Rathour said during a virtual press conference after the end of the day’s play.
“Today also, Cheteshwar Pujara played 50 odd balls. Cheteshwar Pujara just needs to convert those starts. It’s going to happen very soon,” he added.
After Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket, skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane stitched a second important partnership with the pair ending the day unbeaten on 44 and 29 respectively in an unbroken stand of 58. Vikram Rathour was pleased with the way his team kept plugging away after being put in to bat in difficult conditions.
“(Kohli and Rahane) batted well, I would give a lot of credit to Rohit and Gill as well because they started off really well. They were challenging conditions when we started. It was a fresh wicket, we lost the toss and it was overcast all day, so credit to all the batters. They showed a lot of restraint and a lot of discipline. We handled it pretty well,” said Rathour while replying to a query from ANI.
“A lot of discipline was shown today but there was a lot of intent to score runs as well. So it’s a reasonable day that we had overall,” he added.
Captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane struck an unbeaten 58-run partnership for the fourth wicket to navigate the team to 146/3 at the end of the day’s play on Saturday. Virat Kohli is batting on 44 while Ajinkya Rahane remains unbeaten on 29 as India will look to continue to build on the solid foundation laid on Day 3.
Vikram Rathour: Anything More Than 250 Plus Is A Good 1st Innings Total
At stumps on Day Two on Saturday, India’s score reads 146/3 and the batting coach feels anything above 250 would be a good first innings total for India against New Zealand.
“We are looking to play sessions well and if we keep doing that anything more than 250 plus would be a reasonable score under these conditions,” said Rathour.
Talking about Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill’s opening stand, Rathour said,” If they come good, they can take an attack away when they come good. They put a lot of pressure on the bowling side.
Unfortunately, both of the openers got out after getting set. Both of them playing the way they play can put a lot of pressure on the bowling side. Vikram Rathour said the batsmen showed discipline but also scored runs whenever it was possible.
“I think it had both factors. Of course, countering the swing is well, but the discussion we have had as a team is that we need to be looking for runs wherever we can. If a loose ball is offered, we have to make it count,” said Rathour.
“We could see it throughout the day. Though we showed discipline, I think we looked to score runs whenever there was an opportunity and that was good to see,” he signed off.
India managed to get off to a good start courtesy of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill. They put the loose balls away and were looking good as they raised a 50 plus run stand before Rohit Sharma departed. Shubman Gill fell soon after and Cheteshwar Pujara was soon dismissed after Lunch.
India is in trouble on Day 3 of the 1st Test with Virat Kohli (44) and Ajinkya Rahane (49) back in the pavilion. Rishabh Pant failed to continue his form as he fell after scoring 4 off 22 balls. India is currently placed at 182/6.