India opener Rohit Sharma that Cheteshwar Pujara’s unbeaten 91 in the second innings of the ongoing third Test against England at Headingley showed the senior batter’s intent and character.
By stumps on the third evening on Friday, India reached 215/2 in their second innings courtesy Pujara and Rohit, who scored a half-century while skipper Virat Kohli was also closing in on a fifty.
“You are talking about someone who has played 80-odd Test matches. I don’t think anything needs to be shown (to him) before Test matches,” Rohit said in the post-play virtual press conference when asked if Pujara was shown old video clips of his batting.
“Yes, there are times to go and show all of that but during Test matches, there isn’t time to go into the detail of what you are doing and what you want to do as a batter.”
The much talked-about word whenever Pujara comes in to bat is “intent” and Rohit felt that their number three batsman has that in abundance.
“Pujara definitely came with an intent to score runs and this innings of ours was never about survival,” said Rohit, who himself scored 59.
“We came with an intent to score runs. Pujara clearly showed that. Anything loose he pounced and that showed he had intent in his batting. He showed that any loose deliveries won’t be spared.”
The criticism of Pujara, according to Rohit, has been an external thing as the team very well knows his value.
“To be honest, there hasn’t been any talks. Talks are happening outside. We know his quality and experience and I don’t think we need to have much of a discussion. If you talk about recent performance, yes he has not scored runs but we saw a crucial partnership between him and Ajinkya at Lord’s. Not to forget what he did in Australia. He played those crucial knocks for winning the series in Australia.”
Rohit acknowledged that Pujara went through a rough patch, adding that this innings showed his character.
“Of course, of late, the runs haven’t come but that doesn’t mean that quality of Pujara has gone missing. You must have seen today that it wasn’t the easiest of situations to go in when you are 300 odd behind. And to bat the way he batted showed the character and mindset of an individual as well. Someone who has gone everywhere and scored runs.”
However Rohit admitted that with India trailing by 139 runs, the team is still in danger and wants Pujara to bat well on the fourth day also.
“From his perspective, he has done well but the team’s job is not done yet. We have a crucial couple of days coming, and hopefully, he can put his head down and keep batting like the way he does.”
About his own dismissal, which was a tight leg before call, Rohit maintained that he wasn’t disappointed at not reaching three figures.
“That’s (hundred) last thing on my mind. What’s going on in my mind is how I can get my team in a good position. How I can create a good partnerships. Three figure will happen if it has to happen.”
Rohit accepted that India batted poorly in the first innings.
“Yes, they bowled some good balls but it was definitely not a 78 all out pitch. As a batting unit, we batted poorly and we accept it. As simple as that. We accept that and took corrective measures and that’s why we are in this position.”
As far as the gameplan is concerned, Rohit made it clear that the team’s first target is to score those 139 runs and erase the deficit and then think about the target.
With PTI Inputs