Former India batsman and ex-women’s coach, WV Raman believes that Cheteshwar Pujara should make the best use of the scoring opportunities in the difficult English conditions in the upcoming ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand and the Test series against England.
He further pointed out that Pujara's technique of grinding the bowlers first and then scoring can work in India and Australia, but the English conditions are different where conditions are capable of changing every session, and the right-hander should look and play a few more shots to score in England.
Raman told Hindustan Times, “I think Cheteshwar perhaps can look at playing a few more shots. In England, you’ve got to make the best use of the scoring opportunities. Assuming this will again be a typical English summer, you will get very few scoring opportunities anyway. Cheteshwar likes to grind for long hours and then score. In that period, he might miss out on some scoring opportunities.”
The former coach further noted, “You can get away with that in India, Australia, where there is not much swing and seam. But both happen a lot in England. In Australia, you will have bounce, you might have a bit of seam but in England, you will have to cope with all three at times. It is important not to let the scoring opportunities go. This not only gives him runs and builds his confidence but it also puts the bowler under pressure. It makes him think.”
He further explained his view on the suggestion, “I’m not trying to say that he has to play against his character. He keeps it very simple. If he picks a bowler and decides that he has to play him out then he can do that quite easily and he does that quite often. But if he just tries to score some runs even against the best bowler then that will keep the bowler on his toes.
He suddenly has to think about saving runs too, it’s not only about bowling over after over to Pujara and testing his resilience. The equation then changes slightly. That was perhaps one of the biggest differences between the Indian batters and others when they played Shane Warne. The moment he dropped it slightly short or got his line wrong, our players were ready to punish him. That’s why he perhaps did not have as much success against India as he did against South Africa in England. He did not have mental domination over India.”
He also shared some valuable tips for the Indian openers Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Shubman Gill ahead of the WTC 2021 Final against New Zealand.
Raman suggested, “Rohit has played enough. He is vastly experienced. Shubman Gill despite being a youngster has got a lot of exposure to playing international cricket. There is no reason why they cannot do it in the WTC final. What is important in England is to take it moment by moment. There you can’t say you are totally set if you have batted for two hours because the weather can change suddenly. So, it is important to always take it one ball at a time.”
He signed off by saying, “Players like Rohit, Shubman, and Pant need to work out a method to try and succeed in these conditions without compromising too much of their basic technique because that has helped them become the players they are.”
(With Hindustan Times Inputs)