Indian Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane had ordinary outings in the recent ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final against New Zealand in Southampton with many believing it could end the road for the two if they fail to deliver in the upcoming Test series in England.
However, Aakash Chopra, a former Indian cricketer, doesn’t think that way and even predicted good series for both Rahane and Pujara against England with the first of the five Tests beginning on August 4 by saying everyone has their “own style of playing.”
After the WTC Final loss to New Zealand in Southampton last week, Indian skipper Virat Kohli expressed unhappiness with some players' intent and said the team needs players with the right mindset, which led people to speculate major changes in the national Test team for England Tests.
Reacting to a fan’s query that if Pujara and Rahane’s below-par performances in the upcoming Test series in England could be the end of the road for Pujara and Rahane, Chopra said “intent is something which is grossly overrated at times”.
He also asked people to respect the two veterans for what they are doing for the country in the longest format of the game.
Chopra said in his latest YouTube video, “What is the intent? Colin de Grandhomme also shows intent, he comes and starts slogging, is that the right intent? Rishabh Pant also showed the intent in the second innings but was that the right intent? Rohit Sharma was playing defensively but I thought it was positive intent. Rishabh Pant was playing with the aggressive intent but it was probably not the right intent from the Indian team's perspective.”
He continued, “Intent is something which is grossly overrated at times. When Cheteshwar Pujara stood in Sydney, taking blows all over the body, Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari did that. If you go to Gabba, Pujara was getting hit by the ball repeatedly. That is also the right intent.
On Kohli’s statement, the former cricketer said, “Let's wait and watch. I don't think he is singling out people, that Pujara or Rahane played slowly. Maybe he is just talking about a different frame of mind which might have been there in the dressing room, which may not have been that positive. I don't think he was talking about Pujara and Rahane.”
He signed off by saying, “I have got no doubt in my mind that the England series will go good for Rahane and Pujara but everyone has their own style of playing. We must respect that what you get from Pujara, you will not get from Pant and what you get from Rahane, you will not get from Kohli.”