Indian middle order continues to be a worry on the ongoing tour of England with the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane again delivering low scores. While Pujara scored 9 off 23, Rahane managed 1 off 23 as India frittered away an excellent start by the openers to be bowled out for 364 in their first innings of the ongoing Lord’s Test vs England.
The opening pair of KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma stitched a 126-run partnership and Pujara who has time and again proven to be the team’s rock, was dislodged early with his last fifty in the format coming nine innings before.
His departure brought in captain Virat Kohli (42) who added 117 runs with Rahul for the fourth wicket. However, post his dismissal, Indian innings unraveled.
It’s been seven straight innings now for Rahane that he has failed to score a half-century.
Batting legend VVS Laxman dissects what’s ailing Pujara who he feels that looks restless and too eager to score runs. “A mixture of technical issues and eagerness to score,” Laxman said on ESPNcricinfo while pointing out what mistakes Pujara is committing. “We saw even in the first innings at Nottingham, the way he was restless till the time was there on the crease, eventually he was run out. Even today we saw very very tentative footwork. Whenever you are indecisive, whenever you are trying to look at the outcome instead of concentrating on the ball, you always tend to reach out for the ball.”
Laxman opines that Rahane and Pujara are repeating mistakes which has contributed to their slump in form. “Both Rahane and Pujara will be disappointed that they are repeating the same mistake, which has led to their dismissals in the last 8-10 months. We saw Rahane getting out in a very similar fashion in Australia,” he said.
He continued, “Today, if you see the replays very closely you will realise that he was late on the ball. His left foot was still in the air, there was no transfer of body weight.”
He also fears that the pressure of scoring runs may be playing a role considering their reputation. “I hope the outside noise is not playing on the minds of Pujara and Rahane. There is always more pressure on established players because there are youngsters waiting to take your spot. That pressure keeps getting more with each low score,” he explained.