Saba Karim has said that the World Test Championship (WTC) final will be an incredibly difficult challenge for Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are expected to bat at No. 3 and No. 5 respectively for Team India in the WTC final against New Zealand, which is scheduled to be played from June 18 in Southampton.
During a discussion on India News, Saba Karim pointed out that the lack of quality time in the middle could prove to be the Achilles heel for the two Indian Test specialists.
“I feel it will be an extremely tough challenge for Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane because these two players play only in one format. There is no domestic multi-day cricket happening in India at the moment, so they have not got too many chances to hone their skills,” said Karim.
The former India wicket-keeper observed that Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane will have to draw on their past experiences to deliver the goods.
“So whatever experience they have gathered during the World Test Championship or over the years, they will have to bring that to the fore. These two have the experience of playing in England multiple times and they will get the advantage of that,” added Karim.AdvertisementAdvertisement
Cheteshwar Pujara last played in the final Test of India’s home series against England. Although he was part of the Chennai Super Kings squad for IPL 2021, he did not get a chance to feature in their playing XI.
Rahane played a couple of matches for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021, where he scored just eight runs in his solitary hit.
“Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have a huge task at hand” – Saba Karim
Saba Karim highlighted Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane have the dual responsibility of scoring the runs and holding fort at one end.
“Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have a huge task at hand. Firstly, they have to score the runs and along with that they have to occupy the crease as well because the players around them are all stroke players, whether it is Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant or Rohit Sharma at the top of the order,” said Karim.
The 53-year-old concluded by stating that India will have an advantage if Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane play to their potential.
“These two players provide the stability to the Indian team. If you have to negotiate the moving ball, then these two have to stand there so that the stroke players can score the runs from the other side. So, I feel India will gain a lot from their abilities if they bat as per their potential,” signed off Karim.Advertisement
Both Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane have not enjoyed great success in England. The two Indian batting stalwarts average less than thirty on English soil and have scored just a century each.
With the Virat Kohli-led side likely to go in with five frontline bowlers, the onus will on Pujara and Rahane to play long innings and blunt the Kiwi bowlers.