Sunday, April 02, 2023

“It seemed like he was playing those shots under pressure” – Harbhajan Singh on Cheteshwar Pujara’s revamped approach in third Test 

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh expressed doubts over Cheteshwar Pujara‘s approach in the second innings of the third Test. Pujara had scored 91 runs at a brisk pace when compared to his usual style of play.

It has not been a tour to remember for Pujara so far, with his usual grit, determination and steely desire not on show. He played a vital innings in the second innings of the Lord’s Test, but apart from that, the England bowlers have not had their task cut out in taking the wicket of Pujara. In a change of proceedings, Pujara came out with a very positive approach and got to playing strokes right away instead of settling first.

Harbhajan Singh noted that Pujara might have played those positive shots out of pressure and cast doubt over the newfound approach since it is not his natural game. While speaking on his YouTube channel, Harbhajan Singh said:

‘I never saw this side of Pujara before. It seemed like he was playing those shots under pressure. Even heard that he was told to score at a quicker rate, that he is taking too much time to get runs. He has achieved success because of his style of play, because he makes the ball older, but in England even though the ball is old, it continues to swing.”

“It’s different in Australia, there the old ball does not do anything. He was able to score enough runs with the new approach, but I don’t think he will be able to score like this consistently.”

The middle-order collapse is a worrying sign for India: Harbhajan Singh

The Indian middle order has faced a lot of flak over the course of the last few years over their lack of contribution. Even in the ongoing series, their inputs have been scattered and not enough to relieve the pressure on the lower order.

Harbhajan Singh tried to pinpoint the true issue behind their recent failures. He attributed it to lack of practice, but at the same time believes that the team had more than enough time to prepare. Harbhajan Singh added:

‘The average of the Indian middle order which is even less than 30 now is a worrying sign. These are good enough conditions to score runs, but even here runs are not coming. It may be because of lack if practice, were the practice games enough? Because the team had a lot of time. If India need to olay good cricket as a team, the average must be around 40s and 50s.”


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