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    Pressure continues to mount on Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, feels Dinesh Karthik

    Dinesh Karthik

    Cricket   |   November 26, 2021

     

    The forms of senior middle-order batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have been under the scanner for quite a while now. The duo managed to disappoint again on Day 1 of the ongoing Kanpur Test against New Zealand. Pujara and Rahane’s shot selection on their dismissals were questionable and they were left undone by fast bowling once again. This could spell danger for the upcoming away Test series against South Africa.

    Their lean patch has invariably led to pressure from the outside as criticism continues to mount. Dinesh Karthik feels that the lack of big knocks adds to that pressure. With several players like Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav and even Shubman Gill who might be converted into a middle-order batter, waiting on the wings, the spots of Pujara and Rahane is far from assured.

    “I think they would be disappointed and there’s no doubt about it. Obviously, there’s talk outside about them that they need to score hundreds because they haven’t for some time. So with every match, the pressure seems to increase,” Dinesh Karthik told Cricbuzz.

    The wicket-keeper batter also mentioned that due to their participation being limited only to Test cricket, they’re not exposed to the spotlight as much as the all-format players. However, every time they fail to score in a Test, it becomes increasingly difficult for them.

    “Obviously, because Test match is played sporadically, they are not under the spotlight as often, because there’s been a lot more white-ball cricket with the World Cup and the T20Is against NZ. But once Test cricket starts with full tilt again, every time they don’t score runs, they’ll come under the spotlight, so to say in a negative way. And with every game the voices from outside seem to get louder.”

    Dinesh Karthik, however, believes that new Indian head coach Rahul Dravid can revive their careers. Dravid was one of the finest batters in red-ball cricket and his defensive approach was impregnable. There’s no better person than him to work on the flaws in Pujara and Rahane’s technique and mode of dismissals.

    “Having said that, Rahul Dravid knows the value of a Pujara and a Rahane. I think somewhere the quality of Rahul Dravid will come out through these two batters because of very similar methods and very similar styles of play,” Karthik said.

    “So maybe he feels that he can get the best out of them and sort of a second re-living for them and Rahul Dravid might be the catalyst, for their test career propelling forward.”

     

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