The Indian Test specialist, Cheteshwar Pujara has been the flag bearer for India’s spirited resistance with an unbeaten knock of 91 to keep his team in the game match in the third Test at Headingley on Friday. Under pressure, Pujara made a crucial partnership of 82 runs with Rohit Sharma and an unbeaten partnership of 99 runs with Virat Kohli to steer India to 215-2 when bad light stopped play on Day 3.
India opener Rohit Sharma was in full praise of India’s No 3 after his brilliant knock. He said, “Pujara definitely came with an intent to score runs and this innings of ours was never about survival. We came with an intent to score runs. Anything loose he pounced and that showed he had intent in his batting. He showed that any loose deliveries won’t be spared.”
Talking about the criticism on Pujara, Rohit Sharma said, “Talks are happening outside. We know his quality and experience and I don’t think we need to have much of a discussion. If you talk about recent performance, yes he has not scored runs but we saw a crucial partnership between him and Ajinkya at Lord’s. Not to forget what he did in Australia. He played those crucial knocks for winning the series in Australia.”
The stylish batsman urged people not to have a short memory when it comes to performers like Cheteshwar Pujara. Rohit Sharma acknowledged that Pujarahad went through a rough patch, adding that this innings showed his character.
Rohit Sharma elaborated, “Of course, of late, the runs haven’t come but that doesn’t mean that quality of Pujara has gone missing. You must have seen today that it wasn’t the easiest of situations to go in when you are 300 odd behind. And to bat, the way he batted showed the character and mindset of an individual as well. Someone who has gone everywhere and scored runs.”
When asked if Pujara was shown old video clips of his batting, Rohit Sharma said: “You are talking about someone who has played 80-odd Test matches. I don’t think anything needs to be shown (to him) before Test matches. Yes, there are times to go and show all of that but during Test matches, there isn’t time to go into the detail of what you are doing and what you want to do as a batter.’
However, Rohit also admitted that with India still trailing by 139 runs still in arrears, India is still in danger and wants Pujara to bat well on the fourth day also.
Rohit Sharma said, “From his perspective, he has done well but the team’s job is not done yet. We have a crucial couple of days coming, and hopefully, he can put his head down and keep batting like the way he does.”