WTC Final: Dale Steyn decodes reason behind Cheteshwar Pujara’s poor form in World Test Championship – Talismanic batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has been the backbone of Team India’s batting lineup in Test cricket since his debut in 2010. The right-hand batter has played 86 Test matches making 6267 runs at an average of 46.08. However, in the recent past, he has lost his form and has not scored a Test century since 2019. Trying to decode why Pujara has struggled in the past two years, former South African Dale Steyn expressed that India No. 3 has lost his game backfoot game.
“Out of my memory, I just remember Pujara playing great off his legs. Very, very good off his legs, and ball underneath the eyes. But I do remember him playing some magical cut shots and backfoot drives. Maybe on pitches that a little bit quicker – and Indian wickets are not quick – he played some beautiful balls underneath his eyes through the cover. It’s a part of the game that I feel he has lost,” Steyn said on ESPNcricinfo.
Pujara could merely muster 8, 15 runs with his bat in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand at Southampton. In the second innings, he was sent back by Kyle Jaimeson trying to play a cut shot on backfoot.
“That’s the thing I have seen lacking in Pujara. I’m so used to him rocking onto his backfoot and playing with his hands and good feet movement. He’s kind of lost that part of his game. And if you’re only hanging on the front foot, good bowlers will not bowl half-volleys to you. And you’ve got to turn good balls into good shots. That’s the difference between Test cricket and First-Class cricket. He’s missing out on a lot of runs there,” he reckoned.
WTC Final: Pujara’s batting eclipse
Last remembered for good reasons against Australia when he absorbed Pat Cummins nasty bouncers to stabilize Team India, Cheteshwar Pujara too, since then has been a near-to-flop show. The onus drops heavily on this senior player courtesy of the crucial number 3 position that he walks for Team India in the white jersey. Unfortunately, he aggregated just one half-century in the four-Test matches against England in India.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s performance since the Australia tour
- Total runs: 190
- No of innings: 8
- Average: 23.75
- Also Read: ICC Rankings: Virat Kohli ranked highest as three Indians in top 10 of ICC Test Rankings
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