Cheteshwar Pujara doesn’t want Rishabh Pant to curb his natural attacking instincts but would like the swashbuckler to be more ‘sensible’ with his shot selection while putting the team’s requirements above everything else.
Pant scored a breathtaking 91 off 88 balls but then threw it away with a poor shot off Dom Bess as India finished the third day of the opening Test against England at 257 for six.
“It is his (Pant) natural game so we cannot restrict him much. He can’t be too defensive because by doing so he can get out quickly. It is good for his game that he keeps on playing his shots but, at times, he has to be very selective,” said Pujara at the end of the day’s play.
“He needs to understand which shots to play, which not. He needs to understand in which situation it is important that he stays in the crease. Balancing things out is the most important for him,” said one of the calmest influences in the Indian dressing room.
Pujara believes that a talent like Pant will learn from his mistakes as he has the ability to rectify and play for the team's cause.
“He will learn from his mistakes. There are times when he can be little more patient and build another partnership with whoever is there in the crease. He is capable of putting the team first because whenever he bats longer, then we will always end up posting a big total. So, I am sure he will realise that.”
The senior batsman feels that if Pant is ‘sensible’ and listens to the communication from the coaching stuff, he can avoid those ugly dismissals.
“... And then there are times when he also has to understand and the coaching staff always communicates with him that. He has to put the team first and be little sensible at times. He has done that most of the times. There are times when gets out and looks ugly.”
Pujara believes that the pitch is still good for batting and he has the confidence that Washington Sundar and Ravichandran Ashwin can take the game deep in terms of first innings score. England amassed 578 in their first essay.
“There is a bit of spin now but I think it's still a good pitch to bat on. First two days, it was really, really flat and our bowlers did a fantastic job. It was a pitch where there was not much assistance and we were expecting a little bit more from the surface. But we have to accept and move on,” he said.
Pujara’s freak dismissal – a pull shot that rebounded off Ollie Pope’s back and lobbed up to Rory Burns – along with Joe Root’s magnificent catch after Ajinkya Rahane failed to dispatch a full-toss were unlucky dismissals.
“Batting wise, we could have batted better, there were some soft dismissals which didn't go in our favour. The way I got out or Jinks got out... I felt those two wickets were crucial for us, but at the same time we are still confident of doing well.
“Ash and Washington are both batting well, so we will just have to move on from here. Tomorrow, it will be the most crucial day for us.”