Virat Kohli on Wednesday reacted strongly to the criticism received by his teammate and Test specialist batsman Cheteshwar Pujara. While addressing a pre-match virtual presser on Tuesday in Nottingham, the India captain said the critics must leave Pujara alone as he strongly believes that it is up to individuals to figure out the ‘drawbacks’ in their game.
Pujara is India’s second-highest Test run-getter in the current team after skipper Kohli with 6000 plus runs (6267) in 86 matches. Fingers have been pointed at Pujara for his slow scoring rate but Kohli came to the defence of India’s No. 3 batsman.
“It’s been going on for a while and I honestly feel a player of his calibre and experience should be left alone and it should be absolutely with the individual to figure out what are the drawbacks in his game,” Kohli said.
The captain said that players at this level are aware of their responsibilities and undue criticism doesn’t bother them, least of all Pujara.
“Similarly with me or any other player in this team, we are very aware of the things we need to do for the benefit of the team. I can from outside say criticism is unnecessary but I know for a fact that Pujara doesn’t care and criticism is as relevant as you want it to be.
“People can say what they want to say on the outside and those are just words at the end of the day. If you feel they mean no value to you, you just carry on, walking on your path,” he added.
Pujara has been struggling to score after the conclusion of the Australia tour. In the 4-Test series against England at home, he scored 133 runs at an average of 22.17. He failed again in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, managing scores of 8 and 15 in both innings.
(With PTI Inputs)