Vikram Rathour sets aside Cheteshwar Pujara’s bouncer troubles

India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour isn’t too worried about Cheteshwar Pujara’s recurring troubles with the bouncer. Rathour said on Saturday that the No.3 batter hasn’t had any particular issues with pace and just needs to convert his starts.

Cheteshwar Pujara scored an assured but slow 54-ball 8 on Day 2 of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand. He looked in control for the most part until Neil Wagner’s vicious bouncer hit him flush on the helmet, knocking off the soft protection from the back. Pujara’s limited run-flow also stopped after the blow and it took a beaming in-swinger from Trent Boult to get him out three overs later.

Speaking in a virtual press conference, Rathour said:

“I am not really concerned about it. I’m not sure if that’s really a concern for us [because] he’s a good player and I don’t think the pace is an issue with him. Even today, until he batted, he looked pretty solid. He has a role that he needs to [perform] for the team and I think he’s doing it well. It’s just about converting that start. He played 50-odd balls, he just needs to convert those starts and I’m sure it’s going to happen pretty soon.”

The bouncer-barrage strategy against Cheteshwar Pujara isn’t new. Australia’s pace-troika used it against him in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but failed as the batter ducked most of them or took it on his body or helmet.

On Saturday, though, Cheteshwar Pujara looked to have come with a bit more aggressive intent against the plan. He tried a couple of cuts that didn’t land against Wagner and the ball that hit him was also duck-able but he chose to go for a full-fledged pull and missed.

Onus on the old firm after Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal

Although it didn’t have much of an impact on the scoreboard, Cheteshwar Pujara’s innings prevented a possible collapse after the openers were dismissed within a five-over spell. However, now the responsibility lies on the old firm of skipper Virat Kohli (44) and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane (29) to take India to a respectable total.

The scorecard reads 146-3 at the end of Day 2 and anything above 250 should be challenging on this pitch.

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