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HomeCricketEngland vs India: The curious case of Cheteshwar Pujara

England vs India: The curious case of Cheteshwar Pujara

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Cheteshwar Pujara England vs India Cricket Opinion Cricket Blog

Cheteshwar Pujara is an interesting topic of conversation, isn’t he?

His Test career has been nothing but a surprise to me, and I’m sure many others. I view Pujara as a player boasting seemingly endless levels of patience and temperament, coupled with good technique. Australia found this out the hard way last year, forced to toil against him for 672 minutes in Ranchi.

However, Pujara is a unique case. His figures away from home do not do justice to his ability. His Test average of 50.34 is one any batsman would be proud of, but his away average of 35 is underwhelming. Yes, he has copped some tough decisions at times, but for a player of his ability, the numbers between home and away are just too far apart.

He has played 34 of his 58 Test at home (58.62%), but the percentage of runs in India as a proportion of his total is much higher (68.89%). Further, his away average of 35 is boosted by runs in Sri Lanka (I think I could score OK against them, too), so when you disregard Asia completely, Pujara’s figures make for sorry reading.

Cheteshwar Pujara England vs India Cricket Opinion Cricket Blog
Pujara has struggled outside Asia

To make matters more concerning, Pujara has had a nightmare county stint with Yorkshire. It’s incredible when a prolific Test batsman is cause for fans being fed up, asking why he was picked in the first place. 155 runs in 11 innings at 14 is nowhere near the kind of preparation you want for a Test series in England. In the last couple of weeks, he has dismissed for a duck twice by Dale Steyn.

So, what do India do with Pujara and how do they get the best out of him? Will he end his Test career as a player considered not very useful away from Asia?

In this piece, I will highlight a couple of reasons as to why I think Cheteshwar Pujara struggles away from home, and how he could prosper in the upcoming England series.

Technical issues for Cheteshwar Pujara?

Yes, Pujara has a simple technique that forms the basis of his play. He looks to play tight to his body, and has no problem in playing the patience game. These are two attributes players need when batting in foreign conditions. 
However, what has often led to his downfall away from home is how low his hands are when he is batting, as well as his tendency to play with an angled bat. On low, slow pitches, this kind of technique is fine as you can handle the low bounce. However, on bouncier pitches, you’re asking for trouble – the top of your bat and gloves will get a serious workout. In his last tour of England, he was out caught 7 of 10 innings. This year in South Africa, when he wasn’t run out, he was caught behind the wicket. It’s a worrying trend. He needs to play straighter, with slightly higher hands.
In preparation for this series, it’s vital that Pujara adjusts by changing the position of his hands when playing shots. There won’t be pace and bounce in England like there is elsewhere, but there will be more movement on offer for the seamers as opposed to back home in India.

Does Cheteshwar Pujara approach an away Test differently to a home Test?

Here, I’m not talking about technical approach. I’m talking about a mindset approach.
To me, Pujara doesn’t seem himself in an away Test. In India, he personifies calmness and is in his own bubble. In away Tests, he seems edgy, and that was on show in South Africa earlier this year, where he was run out twice in the same Test. Does he put a lot of pressure on himself to try prove to others that he is good enough away from home? Maybe.
The India team management need to make him aware that they are backing him fully, and to do what he does best – discover his pure love for batting, even whilst overseas.
Cheteshwar Pujara England vs India Cricket Opinion Cricket Blog
Pujara seemed to have mental blocks in South Africa

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I think these two factors are absolutely paramount for Pujara to get right in the England series.

I believe India will pick him for the first Test, simply because of the potential he brings, and how well he can hold an innings together. If Pujara is on song, others such as Virat Kohli will be enabled to play their own game, and India will be much better off for it.

We’ll see what comes of this.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts and opinions! In the meantime, check out my 4 keys to India having a successful tour of England.

Thanks for reading.
 

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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