Cheteshwar Pujara had hoped that a county cricket stint with Yorkshire will do him a lot of good ahead of the England Test matches in August. However, his stint is becoming a thorn in his side as he has amassed just 132 runs in 10 innings so far.
Dale Steyn recently got him out twice with two beautiful deliveries for ducks and now, in Yorkshire’s next match with Surrey, Pujara spent 42 balls to score his first run and get going. The likes of Morne Morkel, Rikki Clarke, and Jade Dernbach kept the Indian star rooted to the crease and didn’t let him score for almost 7 overs on the trot.
Pujara finally opened his account by hitting Ryan Patel for a boundary and was dismissed for 23 of 111 balls off Amir Virdi.
Needing somewhere between 70-73 minutes just to open his account, things aren’t going so easy for Pujara in England, where he is supposed to be one of the lynchpins of Indian batting against England in the five Test matches.
During the Johannesburg Test this year, Pujara got off the mark in the first innings after facing 54 balls in about 79 minutes. Thus, he became the first player in the first-class history to bat more than 70 minutes without scoring at the start of an innings on two different occasions.
There are six instances of batsmen taking 70 minutes or more to open their account in County championship and the last of such instance came in 1983.
Pujara’s form is going to be crucial for India in England during the Tests and the team management has already given a signal by sending KL Rahul at the no.3 spot and demoting Pujara to no.4 spot against Afghanistan in Bengaluru. If Pujara’s poor run of form continues, then it might sound the death bell for his place in the team.