Cheteshwar Pujara, the modern-day cricket’s ‘Mr. Dependable has been consistent with his contribution to the Indian Test team, especially whenever the team faces a crisis and needs someone to stand in order to take the side out of hot waters.
Despite all this, Pujara often has to face criticism for his strike rate. He also has to deal with questions over his inability to score quick runs even after getting set. The most recent example of it came in the Ranji Trophy final, where Pujara scored 66 runs taking 237 balls against Bengal.
The No.3 Indian batsman has a strike rate of 46.2 in Tests, but he believes that it’s his style of play.
“I don’t think there is too much talk (on the inside). In media, it is described differently but the team management has been backing me on this completely. There is no pressure from the captain, coach, or anyone else,” Pujara told PTI as quoted by HT.
The 32-year-old clarified that there’s no pressure on him from team management as they understand his batting and its value.
“I just want to clarify that when it comes to strike rate, people start pointing towards team management’s take on it, but there is no pressure on me at all. The team management understands my style of play and its importance,” added Pujara.
On his slow innings in the Ranji Trophy final, Pujara said his job is to make sure that his team ends up winning the contest. He also opined that in the longest format of the game, most batsmen take as many balls as he does, but people pinpoint only at one person.
“The question that was asked on social media (during Ranji final) was, ‘why am I taking so long to score X number of runs’? Whether I pay attention to that, no, I don’t. My job is to make sure that the team wins at all times.”
“People have this tendency to pinpoint one person, but it is just not about me. If you look at any Test series where I have scored runs and taken a little bit of time, the opposition batsmen, most of them, have consumed the same number of balls,” the Rajkot-born added further.
Pujara defended his style of play and said there is nothing wrong with taking a bit of time in red-ball cricket. He further said that he can’t score quick runs like David Warner or Virender Sehwag.
“I know I can’t be a David Warner or Virender Sehwag but if a normal batsman takes time there is nothing wrong in that. People expect big knocks from me. I always challenge myself to score a 100 but to average close to 50 in Tests means you are scoring a half-century almost every second innings,” concluded Pujara.