Aus vs Ind 2020: Really admirable the way in which Jinks lead the side but can’t get into comparisons-Cheteshwar Pujara

India’s Test batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara has refused to draw comparisons in terms of captaincy between Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli after the former led Team India to a historic 2-1 series win in Australia less than 10 days ago.

This comes in response to many in the Media who are saying that Rahane should be made the full-time captain of the Indian Test team. In conversation with HT for the first since the Australia tour, Pujara praised the way Rahane led the side in the last 3 Tests in the absence of Kohli, especially after the ill-fated Adelaide Test match.

I am not going into any comparisons. But if it was any other person other than him…it wasn’t easy. Virat had gone back, we lost the first Test, we had so many injuries. Even if Virat was there, it would have been one of the most difficult situations to be part of as a captain, after losing so many key players. It was really admirable the way Jinks was backing his bowlers. He was really calm. Despite the first loss, we stuck together and kept believing that we can win this series,” Pujara told HT.

One of the most talked-about things throughout the series was how slow Pujara was batting. Pujara strike rate was just 29.90 in the 4 match series down from over 41 in the team’s previous tour to Australia in 2018/19. Pujara said he batted as per the team’s need and that the finger injury he sustained during the 2nd Test at Melbourne didn’t help him either.

I feel as a batter you know what suits your team, rather than what people see from the outside. You just have to trust your methods. Also, with the finger injury it wasn’t easy for me to bat. I was in some pain. This happened during one of the practice sessions in Melbourne. When I was batting in Sydney and Brisbane, it wasn’t easy to grip the bat properly. When I got hit again at Brisbane, there was more pain. I had to grip the bat with four fingers. It wasn’t natural. Things still worked out pretty well,” he added.

Pujara further pointed out the lack of match practice for him before such a big tour due to Covid-19 as one of the main reasons why he couldn’t big scores in the initial few games. But Puajra roared back in style in the last 2 games where he scored 3 half-centuries which played a part in India saving one at Sydney and winning at Brisbane.

Most of the time, once I get past 50, my strike rate goes up. This series, I didn’t go on and score big scores. But one can’t compare performances to 2018-19 because getting three hundreds and 521 runs in a series can happen only a few times in your career, in some cases, only once. The situation this time was different too; I came into the series having only done net sessions because of Covid. You need some first-class matches, and I got only one. So, to expect me to be in that rhythm…even with Steve Smith you saw it was difficult for him initially in the series.” Pujara said.

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