IND v NZ 2021: ‘Rahane is just one innings away from gaining back form’, says Pujara ahead of 1st Test

Ajinkya Rahane has been struggling for runs in the longest format lately.

Ajinkya Rahane | GettyAfter sweeping the T20I series 3-0 against New Zealand, Team India’s focus now shifts to the two-Test series versus the BlackCaps, starting November 25 in Kanpur.

Ahead of the opening Test, India batter Cheteshwar Pujara has backed stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane to return to form with the bat.

Rahane, who will lead the side in the first Test with regular skipper Virat Kohli taking rest, has been struggling for runs in the longest format lately. His Test average has dropped below 40 in recent times and he hardly put in a noteworthy performance during the England tour in August-September.

See Also: Ajinkya Rahane is "pretty fortunate" to be still part of the Indian squad- Gautam Gambhir

However, Pujara feels Rahane is just one hundred away from bouncing back as the batter has been working hard in the nets ahead of the series.

"He (Rahane) is a great player, there are times when a player goes through a tough time and that's a part of this game. There can be ups and downs but I feel he is a confident player. He is someone who works hard on his game and I am sure he is just one innings away from gaining back the form," said Pujara in the virtual press conference on Tuesday (November 23).

"Once he gets back to scoring runs, he will be back in form. He has been working hard in the nets. So he is a good touch, hoping that he scores big runs in this series," he added.

While the Kiwi camp is wary of spin threat ahead of the Test series, Pujara said India will not take the visitors lightly.

"We have that advantage but we can't take the New Zealand team lightly at all. They have played excellent cricket and they are a good side in all formats, so we will stick to our game plans.

"There will be strategies but overall, we will focus on our game plans, New Zealand is a competitive team and we won't take them lightly at all," Pujara said.

The two-Test series is a part of the second World Test Championship (WTC) cycle. The second and final Test will be played in Mumbai from December 3.

(With ANI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 23 Nov, 2021

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