The middle order of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane haven’t inspired confidence in a long time. The bigger knocks and centuries have dried up and either they haven’t been able to convert their good starts into meaningful innings or they’ve been decimated by the opposition bowling unit far too quickly.
The latter was the case in the all important third innings of the World Test Championship Final where Kyle Jamieson and co ran through the middle order to swing the balance of the match back in New Zealand’s favour. It happened yesterday with Jimmy Anderson getting rid of Pujara and Kohli in back-to-back deliveries and Rahane following suit after a run-out.
During that WTC Final, India ended up losing the match to New Zealand. Against England in the first Test, they have reasons to be worried as they went from 96/0 to 125/4 on Day 2. India still trail the hosts by 58 runs.
“I would advise them not to look at their recent stats. There is no point in it because they would not gain confidence from it. They have to think about their good performances of the past. And what factors in their game worked for them during those good times that led them towards success,” said former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan on Cricbuzz Chatter after stumps on Day 2.
Since 2020, Virat Kohli has averaged 23 in nine Tests and has scored 345 runs. Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have played 12 Tests each and they average 27 and 25.28 respectively. Rahane has collected 540 runs while Pujara has managed 531 runs. Only Rahane has been able to notch up a century in that period.
Zaheer Khan went on to add that the trio will be able to iron out any technical deficiencies with the help of coaches. Having a positive frame of mind will be the key for them.
“If they feel there are any technical deficiencies in their batting, then they can take assistance from Ravi Shastri or batting coach and work on them in the net sessions. Everyone does it as it is a usual process. If we talk only about confidence, it is not like if you have performed in these conditions in the past, you can’t do it again or better your previous performance. Rather than concentrating on negative aspects, they should fixate their minds on positive things. Because a batsman is always one knock away from being in good or bad form,” added Zaheer Khan.