Pu­jara’s Kanpur trans­for­ma­tion au­gurs well for In­dia

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

O Fall the things that went right in the test se­ries opener against New Zealand, Chetesh­war Pu­jara’s trans­for­ma­tion from an ob­du­rate ac­cu­mu­la­tor of runs to a free-scor­ing bats­man when needed must be the most pleas­ing for In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli.

In a team teem­ing with flam­boy­ant stroke­mak­ers, Pu­jara’s bat­ting, built on a wa­ter­tight de­fence and an un­flap­pable tem­per­a­ment, is al­most an anachro­nism.

In­dia’s test No. 3 feels he has no obli­ga­tion to quench the bound­ary-thirst of the home fans, shuns the aerial route like a man in­flicted with the fear of fly­ing and be­lieves de­fence is the best of­fence.

Rather un­sur­pris­ingly, the 29-yearold went un­sold in the play­ers’ auc­tion for the In­dian Pre­mier League (IPL), and his strike rate, cur­rently un­der 49 in tests, led to his ex­clu­sion from the third test against West Indies last month.

First in the do­mes­tic Duleep Tro­phy and now in the first test against New Zealand, Pu­jara’s bat­ting has been some­thing of a rev­e­la­tion.

“Ob­vi­ously he’s some­one who ab­sorbs pres­sure re­ally well,” Kohli said of Pu­jara whose scores of 62 and 78 came with 50-plus strike rates in both in­nings. “Af­ter a cer­tain stage in the in­nings, there comes a time when the team needs a few runs.” – Reuters

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