Praising Cheteshwar Pujara for his brisk 91 not out on Day 3 of the third Test match in Headingley, Rohit Sharma said that the right-hander may have failed to score runs of late but his quality remains the same. Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli partnered for 99 unbeaten runs on Friday.
It's been over two years since India's No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara scored a Test hundred but the 33-year-old has been in the middle of numerous nerve-wracking battles against the oppositions. Pujara is a match-winner and a batsman who should be in India's Test eleven. Period.
However, despite playing 88 Tests for the country, Pujara finds himself in the middle of unwanted debates and criticisms time and again. May be this is how a low-key player who just believes in doing his job and giving it all for the team is treated.
England took a massive 354-run first innings lead in the Leeds Test on Friday but Pujara partnered with Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for 82 and 99 unbeaten runs respectively to make sure that the visitors are not completely outplayed. Pujara once again rose to the occasion, though in a 'flamboyant' fashion this time. In highly unlikely scenes in front of a packed crowd, Pujara brought up his fifty with a pull shot. At stumps he was batting on 91 off 180 balls, just 9 shy of his 19 Test hundred.
Rohit Sharma has heaped rich praises on Pujara, saying that he was definitely struggling to find runs but the quality was never missing. The opener also talked about the "intent" of Pujara, who did not miss on scoring opportunities this time around.
"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."
When asked if Pujara was shown old video clips of his batting, Rohit Sharma said, “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.
"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," added Rohit, who scored a feisty 59.
Job is half done: Rohit Sharma
Further, Rohit Sharma reckoned that India are still trailing by 139 runs and Pujara will have to make sure to keep his head down and do the job for the team. Notably, 180 overs of play still remains in the Test match.
"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."