Mohammad Kaif has opined that Cheteshwar Pujara seems to be under immense pressure. He added that the batsman made the grave mistake of playing away from his body, which led to his dismissal.
Pujara hung his bat out to a James Anderson delivery, only to get an outside edge and be caught by Jonny Bairstow in the slips. The India No.3 never looked comfortable in the middle and was dismissed after scoring just nine runs.
During a discussion on Sony Sports, Mohammad Kaif pointed out that Cheteshwar Pujara is succumbing to the growing pressure. He said:
“It is clearly evident that Cheteshwar Pujara is under pressure. He is counting his innings which he should not be doing but it is not that easy. You can praise the bowler but I feel Pujara throwing his bat away from his body on this pitch was a big mistake.”
The former Indian cricketer highlighted that Cheteshwar Pujara has tended to play inside the line of deliveries lately. Kaif elaborated:
“This time the ball was outside the stumps but he is mostly getting out through the outside edge. The last innings he played, it was a ball within the stumps, the bowler was the same, the ball pitched and went out, there also the outside edge.”
Cheteshwar Pujara was caught behind off James Anderson in the first innings of the Nottingham Test.
“There is doubt in Cheteshwar Pujara’s mind” – Mohammad Kaif
Mohammad Kaif said Cheteshwar Pujara’s mode of dismissal suggests that the lack of runs from his willow is playing on his mind.
“Here it was far away from the stumps. When your footwork doesn’t work and if a player like Pujara starts playing balls outside the off-stump, it means there is doubt in his mind about his one or two innings and players waiting in the wings.”
The 40-year-old added that Pujara does not waft at deliveries outside the off-stump when he is on top of his game.
“There was a long gap between bat and pad. When Pujara is in form, he plays close to the body and that is his strength. He is not an attacking batsman, he scores his runs by tiring you out. His defence is his strength.”
Cheteshwar Pujara has a highest score of 21 in his last ten Test innings. The dogged batsman might have to play a significant knock in the second innings of the Lord’s Test to retain his spot in the Indian team.