Captain Virat Kohli reveals reason behind Cheteshwar Pujara's batting transformation

Pujara's strike rate was 56.88 and 51.31 in the 1st and 2nd innings, respectively.

Updated: Sep 27, 2016, 13:56 PM IST
Captain Virat Kohli reveals reason behind Cheteshwar Pujara's batting transformation

New Delhi: One of the big positives for India in the Kanpur Test was the performance of Cheteshwar Pujara.

The right-hander has long been considered the ideal replacement of Rahul Dravid's at the number three position in Tests.

Though Pujara boasts of solid technique and temperament, his inability to score runs quickly was becoming a bit of a problem for the team.

On several occasions the right-hander would go into a shell after getting a start. This would in turn hamper the momentum of the team's innings.

However, a positive change was witnessed in the Duleep Trophy when Pujara got his runs rather briskly.

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Pujara followed this up with two good knocks against New Zealand in the 1st Test. On both occasions, there was a fluency to his innings.

In the post-match press conference, Kohli revealed that this aspect of his batting was discussed by the team management.

Virat admitted that the team needed Pujara to score runs more quickly and this was communicated to him.

"Pujara is someone who absorbs the pressure really well but after a certain stage in the innings there comes a time when the team needs runs. That's where we felt that he has the ability to capitalise. It was just about conveying that to him. He has worked hard on his game. He scored at a good strike rate in the Duleep Trophy. Even on this wicket he was scoring at 65, almost 70 strike rate.

"Which for me was a revelation, to see Pujara bat that way. Because he used to bat that way initially. Especially at home. If you see his double-hundreds against England and Australia, he will dominate spinners. That's exactly what we wanted him to do. We didn't want him to go into a shell. We want Pujara to bat to his potential. Once he starts scoring runs to go with the composure he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of the game. That's all we wanted to convey to him.

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"He's someone who understands what the team wants. He has worked hard on his game. He has come back, and he is playing more positively. Which we appreciate as a team and me personally as a captain. That he has actually gone and worked hard on his game. He has not told us this is my comfort zone and I am not going to get out of it. That is the kind of characters we need to win games and series," Virat was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

Pujara's strike rate was 56.88 and 51.31 in the 1st and 2nd innings, respectively.

With this transformation in the 28-year-old's batting, the Indian team will be even more difficult to beat on home soil.