Indian skipper Virat Kohli, post 10-wicket drubbing at Wellington, encouraged his batsmen to dispose of their extra cautious approach, and bat with more freedom.
Kohli posed a question mark on the batting approach adopted by Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, batting second in the first Test match at Basin Reserve.
However, Kohli’s deputy, Ajinkya Rahane, in a recent interaction ahead of the second Test match, did believe that adopting an aggressive approach was necessary.
“I am not saying (we have to be) more aggressive, but having that intent and clear mindset will help us,” Rahane told reporters on Thursday.
Pujara consumed as many as 28 deliveries to open his account in the second innings. The Indian number three ended up consuming 81 deliveries for his 11.
Opener Mayank Agarwal, who looked fluent at the other end, succumbed to pressure and ended playing a rash shot on 53, and paid the price of his wicket.
“Pujara was trying his bit, he was actually looking to score runs. But I think Boult, Southee and all their bowlers did not give away much. It is all about having that intent. It happens to all batsmen, I mean all batsmen go through that phase,” added Rahane.
It’s not the first time Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri questioned Pujara’s ultra-defensive approach. He was also dropped once from the team in 2015, citing his occasional negative approach in Test cricket.
Kohli and Shastri both wanted Pujara to score freely in red-ball cricket. Pujara then made his way back into the Indian team during the Sri Lankan series in 2015.
Pujara found support in Rahane, who claimed that all three pillars of India’s middle-order in Test hold a different approach and batting style.
“If you can trust your ability at the center and counter-attack and everyone’s game is different. I play a completely different game than Virat and Pujara. As a team we need to figure out how we are going to play in the middle, communication will be the key,” concluded the Indian vice-captain.