Cheteshwar Pujara is a rock in the current Indian Test batting set-up and was the best successor to Rahul Dravid, fans could have hoped for. His record in Test cricket is exceptional and he is closing in on 100 Test matches very soon. Even though he is Mr Dependable for Team India, the past two years have been a little shaky for Pujara. A few cracks have started to emerge in his rock-solid defence and his lack of form is a concern for the team leading up to the five-match Test series in England.
Here are some concerning facts about Cheteshwar Pujara from the past two years in Test cricket.
NO CENTURIES IN THE LAST TWO YEARS
Pujara has featured in 18 Test matches for Team India in the past two years. In those 18 matches, Pujara has managed to score only 841 runs at an average of 28.03. These numbers are well below the high standards Pujara sets for himself. To make matters worse, Pujara has failed to convert any of his 9 fifties into a hundred with 81 being his highest in this period. Pujara was known for his daddy hundreds throughout his Test career but in the past two years, he hasn’t been his usual self. The team desperately needs him to be back to his best in this series against England.
AVERAGING FEWER BALLS PER INNINGS
The best thing about Pujara isn’t the way he scores his runs but the way he tires the bowlers out and makes them come back for spells after spells. This is where Pujara cashes in regularly in Test cricket. In his Test career so far, Pujara has averaged 97 balls per innings but in the past two years, he hasn’t been able to spend as much time as he would have wanted in the middle. In the past two years, Pujara has averaged 78 balls per innings, that is 19 balls less than his career average. This may not look that big an issue but it makes a huge difference when it comes to suffering a batting collapse or not. It is imperative that Pujara spends plenty of time in the middle in the challenging English conditions in the upcoming series.
RECORD IN ENGLAND ISN’T PROMISING
The biggest concern leading up to the series against England when it comes to Cheteshwar Pujara is the lack of runs he has managed to score in England. This would be his third tour of England and in 10 previous matches, Pujara has just managed to score 523 runs which include a solitary century in 2018. His average of 27.52 is well below his career average of 46.08, this shows that the English fans haven’t seen the best of Pujara and the England bowlers have got their bowling plans spot on against the Indian number three.
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