WTC 2023 Final: “This is not knowing where your off-stump is,” Shastri slams Pujara for poor leave

Pujara offered no shot to a delivery that knocked his stumps off.

Cheteshwar Pujara cleaned up by Cameroon Green | GettyTeam India had a terrible outing with the bat on the second day of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) 2023 Final against Australia at The Oval.

In reply to Australia’s first innings total of 469, India were reduced to 71/4 with key batters like Rohit Sharma (15), Shubman Gill (13), Cheteshwar Pujara (14) and Virat Kohli (14) getting out cheaply.

Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja steadied the ship by adding 71 runs for the fifth wicket. While Jadeja was dismissed for 48, Rahane stayed unbeaten on 29 alongside KS Bharat (5*) to take India to 151/5 at stumps on Day 2, trailing Australia by 318 runs.

Out of the five Indian batters who got out on the second day, two of them were the outcomes of poor judgement. Gill and Pujara offered no shot to deliveries that knocked their stumps off.

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri, who was on-air during Pujara’s dismissal, slammed the senior batter for leaving the ball poorly and not knowing where his off-stump is.

“That is leaving it poorly because the front foot has just gone across. It should be going towards the ball; he was looking to play it and then decided whether he should leave it. You see, the way he is leaving it, the off-stump is exposed. The front foot is still the middle stump when it’s actually going towards the off stump. Watch that front foot. It should be further across and towards the ball. He thought it was outside the off stump. It was an error in judgment,” Shastri said while commentating.

Shastri further stated that Gill still has time to learn from his mistakes but for someone like Pujara, a veteran of 103 Tests, not knowing where his off stump is a huge disappointment.

“We talk about leaving the ball in England and we always talk about knowing where your off stump is. This is not knowing where your off-stump is. See, Shubman Gill is a little lazy with his footwork. He will learn; he is still young, but Pujara will be very disappointed seeing that. It should have been a little further towards the ball and across the line of the ball. That’s why they keep telling you - know where your off stump is,” he added.

Pujara played six games for Sussex in County Championship Division 2 leading up to the WTC final, registering scores of 115, 35, 18, 13, 151, 136, 77 and 0 from eight innings. He is expected to bounce back and produce a marathon knock for India in the second essay.


By Salman Anjum - 09 Jun, 2023

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