Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2014, Sharjah April 21, 2014

Pujara's T20 test

Cheteshwar Pujara's quest to adapt to the needs of T20 cricket is still a painfully on-going process, as evidenced by his jarring innings against Rajasthan Royals
92

Cheteshwar Pujara seemed stuck in an endless, horrifying loop. For what seemed an eternity, all he seemed capable of doing was hitting the ball to long-on for one. Whether he was down the track to Pravin Tambe's legspin or back in his crease to Rajat Bhatia's medium-pace, the same thing kept happening. Pujara would swing with all his might only to mistime the ball, which would then roll slowly down the heavy Sharjah outfield.

One of these efforts provoked a disproportionate noise from the members' enclosure. This, it turned out, had come about after some of the spectators had spotted Preity Zinta in the cubicle-like VIP boxes. Some of them ran over to the wall separating the two areas, passed a couple of perplexed-looking babies and into Zinta's arms. The TV cameras swooped, and Zinta was up on the big screen. Everyone cheered.

Out in the middle, Pujara must have felt more than a touch disoriented. A feeling only heightened as he watched Glenn Maxwell hitting chest-high balls down the ground for four, upper-cutting slower bouncers for six from halfway down the pitch, and batting left-handed when he was getting bored. All of this was keeping Punjab in sight of a big target, but it was throwing a particularly harsh light on Pujara's struggles.

In the end, Pujara's 38-ball 40 was the tenth-slowest unbeaten innings by an opening batsman in the IPL. The nine innings slower than Pujara's, however, came in chases of targets below 150. Kings XI, on Sunday, were chasing 192. Without the unusual fortune of Maxwell and David Miller playing freakish knocks, victory may well have been beyond Kings XI.

According to their captain George Bailey, though, Pujara had played an important role in the run-chase.

"In a chase like that, it's always nice to have wickets in hand," he said. "Puj [Pujara] obviously played that role really, really well. He got Maxi on strike well, and then he got Davey [Miller] on strike and he chipped in with a couple of boundaries late when we really needed to find those.

"We know what we are going to get from Puj and we know we want consistency and it's nice to have someone we can bat around. There will be wickets that suit him more and that was the really pleasing thing for me, the way he worked those partnerships with those guys. It's really important for our team."

Pujara certainly didn't get stuck at one end, and there was a period from the 10th to the 13th over when he only faced four balls to Maxwell's 20 (in which he moved from 40 to 88). But it wasn't as if Pujara was calmly slotting the ball into gaps. He was going hard at the ball, and was simply unable to time it.

To watch Pujara bat on Sunday was to watch a man trying desperately hard to show the world that he could crack the T20 code. Pujara radiates serenity when he bats in Test cricket. Here, you could feel the uncertainty and the anxiety to belong. You could see it in how hard he was running between the wickets. You could see his relief when he ran to embrace Miller after he had hit the winning six. There must have been times during his innings when he thought he'd lost it for his team.

In Pujara's batting there raged a fierce battle between his muscle memory, which has been trained over all his cricketing years to tackle the questions posed by the long-format game, and the need to make concessions for T20.

Early in his innings, against Dhawal Kulkarni, he played a shot that wasn't too dissimilar to his trademark square cut and bisected point and third man. But he hadn't gone back and across as he usually does; he had stayed where he was and made himself room, against a ball that wasn't too wide of off stump. He looked unbalanced when he was beaten later in the over, trying to repeat the shot.

Apart from the cut, Pujara wanted to adapt another of his Test-match batting strengths - his footwork against spin - to the IPL. There were glimpses of this during his brief innings against Chennai Super Kings as well, where he charged the seamers as well, but here, against Tambe, he was almost doing it every ball. In Test matches, he skips nimbly down the pitch, reacting to the flight of the ball. Here it looked like he was trying to force the issue, and overcommitting.

It was an innings full of such jarring notes, and watching it was like watching VVS Laxman slog across the line during his largely unfulfilling IPL career. Batting among players as explosive as Maxwell and Miller, however, could give him the space and time to define a role for himself.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on April 23, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    Both Indian Management and players are to bkame fir this .Why cant one play just one format .In days of dravid Ganguly Sachin we did not have that many top quality players as we have today.Why cant we have 2 different teams .For eg guys like Rohit Pujara and Ishant Jadeja are fit for one format .There is already soo much competition and none of the Ranji performers or U 19 performers are getting chances .We lost Pathans bowling because we tried to make him a batsman .If pujara goes diwn the same way we will have kohli as a the only truly good batsman

  • RaviNarla on April 22, 2014, 20:45 GMT

    Even AB and David Warner are struggling at the moment. They are striking at 95 and 85 respectively. Pujara is striking at 110. Give him a break

  • pull_shot on April 22, 2014, 13:33 GMT

    Why to play in t20 as he is quality batsman, One thing i don't understand why in India every player want's to play 3 formats take tips from cook,clarke,smith leave t20 please pujara

  • on April 22, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Pujara should follow Jayawardane, and he had ability to do so. just give some more innings.

  • on April 22, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    Dravid was a complete ODI failure with only 14 man of the Match awards in 340 matches.

    Compare it to Sachin's 65 MOMs in 460

    Even Gangully had won MOM every 12th game whereas Dravid won every 24 game. People will argue that he was a middle order than Kallis & Ponting won MOM every 11 game. Accept the fact guys Dravid was a total ODI failure & a liability that India bore for so long. .........His low S/R so often forced Sachin & Gangully to slog & get out & in the slow rearguard process of Dravid India only lost. Once India got rid of Dravid jinx in 2008 India won VB series AUS then WC 2011 & Champions trophy & many more..............They brought back Dravid in 2011 Natwest & 2009 Champions trophy & his 80 runs of 120 balls chasing 300 sums up his carieer as we lost both badly

  • joskart on April 22, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    As a Writer and Observer, All that is mentioned is positive if Pujara would go through This article this TEST TEAM Gem would be Shining in all the Formats of the game ........

  • Jacobchikku on April 22, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    He just needs to consult with the Rahul Dravid on how to adapt his game to T20 demands!! thats it a few tips here and there and India can have a complete player in Puj!!

  • Hasi21 on April 22, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    Be another Jayawardane.. find the gabs,placement,timing and all... T20 isnt mean only big hits

  • vijon1111 on April 22, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    Right.Need one pujara.But need to accelerate last..

  • on April 22, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    The way karthik krishnaswamy explained the whole scenario....is simply tremendous. Keep posting.

  • on April 23, 2014, 6:09 GMT

    Both Indian Management and players are to bkame fir this .Why cant one play just one format .In days of dravid Ganguly Sachin we did not have that many top quality players as we have today.Why cant we have 2 different teams .For eg guys like Rohit Pujara and Ishant Jadeja are fit for one format .There is already soo much competition and none of the Ranji performers or U 19 performers are getting chances .We lost Pathans bowling because we tried to make him a batsman .If pujara goes diwn the same way we will have kohli as a the only truly good batsman

  • RaviNarla on April 22, 2014, 20:45 GMT

    Even AB and David Warner are struggling at the moment. They are striking at 95 and 85 respectively. Pujara is striking at 110. Give him a break

  • pull_shot on April 22, 2014, 13:33 GMT

    Why to play in t20 as he is quality batsman, One thing i don't understand why in India every player want's to play 3 formats take tips from cook,clarke,smith leave t20 please pujara

  • on April 22, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Pujara should follow Jayawardane, and he had ability to do so. just give some more innings.

  • on April 22, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    Dravid was a complete ODI failure with only 14 man of the Match awards in 340 matches.

    Compare it to Sachin's 65 MOMs in 460

    Even Gangully had won MOM every 12th game whereas Dravid won every 24 game. People will argue that he was a middle order than Kallis & Ponting won MOM every 11 game. Accept the fact guys Dravid was a total ODI failure & a liability that India bore for so long. .........His low S/R so often forced Sachin & Gangully to slog & get out & in the slow rearguard process of Dravid India only lost. Once India got rid of Dravid jinx in 2008 India won VB series AUS then WC 2011 & Champions trophy & many more..............They brought back Dravid in 2011 Natwest & 2009 Champions trophy & his 80 runs of 120 balls chasing 300 sums up his carieer as we lost both badly

  • joskart on April 22, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    As a Writer and Observer, All that is mentioned is positive if Pujara would go through This article this TEST TEAM Gem would be Shining in all the Formats of the game ........

  • Jacobchikku on April 22, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    He just needs to consult with the Rahul Dravid on how to adapt his game to T20 demands!! thats it a few tips here and there and India can have a complete player in Puj!!

  • Hasi21 on April 22, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    Be another Jayawardane.. find the gabs,placement,timing and all... T20 isnt mean only big hits

  • vijon1111 on April 22, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    Right.Need one pujara.But need to accelerate last..

  • on April 22, 2014, 8:00 GMT

    The way karthik krishnaswamy explained the whole scenario....is simply tremendous. Keep posting.

  • on April 22, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    He has 371 runs overseas in 11 innings, out of that 153 came in one innings in a flat track in SA. Another addition in the list of flat track specialists.

  • on April 22, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    In team of sehwag,miller,maxwell n bailey,we need one pujara too.

  • on April 22, 2014, 3:19 GMT

    its good dat pujara wants to be a part of odi and t20 teams but im concerned if he end up loosing his touch as a specialist test batsmen last i heard he was practicing hard to be a part time bowler to get in odi team pujara u dnt need to do dat ur a gem in test cricket and v dnt want to lose u with dis pujara makeover type thng im reminded of once master of swing irfan pathan wen he shifted his focus to his batting and ended up losing his swing and pace

  • on April 21, 2014, 23:29 GMT

    pujara is no good,play mandeep as opener with sehwag,pujara gone make Punjab lose one or two match then they will replace him,why not do it now

  • CricketChat on April 21, 2014, 19:51 GMT

    Pujara seems completely unsuitable for T20s from what I have seen in few innings he played over the last few IPLs. Reminds me of a deer caught in headlights. Should be better off focusing on longer format only.

  • on April 21, 2014, 19:31 GMT

    Maybe gradually, but Pujara will definitely increase his strike rate in next few matches. He just need to find those gaps, that's all.

  • indianzen on April 21, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    I think we are killing the test avatar in Pujara. We lost Pathan when we over killed him with ODIs and T20. We are also loosing Jadeja as he is struggling with Bat and Ball...

  • on April 21, 2014, 18:34 GMT

    It was the ugliest possible inn by any batsman.

    The only place he can hit 4 is behind sq using bowlers pace Just employ 3rd man & fine leg & he won't score a single boundary.

    He was dropped of a dolly too, which author forgets to mention. Maybe it was opposition's game plan?

    Clearly shows he his limited timing.

    In tests set negative single blocking field with fing leg & 3rd man & throttle his test runs too

  • on April 21, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    This article, under the guise of fair analysis, tries to slot Pujara in the test only mold. I think the Indian team is doing itself a disservice as it preps for the 2015 WC in Australia by not making Pujara an integral part of the ODI set-up. On fast/bouncy pitches, with a raging Mitchell Johnson or a Dale Steyn , we need Pujara to bat around and put a few partnerships together.

  • snbirdi on April 21, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    Well for a batsman touted as a replacement for legends like Dravid and Laxman, there's no doubt about his talent and abilities, and I'm sure he'll adapt to this format quickly...however, it kinda concerns me that we're even bothering including him in the IPL. Money aside, we need him to be a specialist in Tests, the format India struggles the most with, and he's done a great job so far.

  • on April 21, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    Pujara deserve few chances. I am sure he would know his ability if cannot keep going and

  • bvnathan on April 21, 2014, 16:29 GMT

    Author Karthik's comments and observations are wrongly directed, and it serves no purpose. Pujara did not hog the balls and denied the hard hitting batsman their turn. The KXIP team have no hard-feelings with Pujara role and what he did, but the people outside wants to make the same judgement. How come the author is not willing to make any comments against Corey Anderson with MI team - a total failure across two matches. The comments as observed by author were also directed at Dravid earlier, but he proved and made all the 'naysayers' eat their own words. Pujara has been denied a role in ODI or T20 format by the Indian team even when some of the matches in the tournament was a lost position - e.g. Asia Cup.

  • akash112001 on April 21, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    Pujara can't be tried anywhere other than opening. What the best he can do is rotating the strike to Viru, Maxi or Bailey. He is astounding on his cover drives and dancing on the track shots. He must try those on bad deliveries. Getting teased by average bowlers is very difficult to digest

  • on April 21, 2014, 15:43 GMT

    this is alarm 4 kings eleven...drop pujaara immediately n include manan vohra...if kings eleven would nt do this..it is definitely going to cause same pain as indian cricket have suffered after inclusion of yuvraj in t20 world cup.

  • on April 21, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    Player of Pujara's potential would adapt and evolve even in any given format. That's the art any proven TEST batsmen possesses . Based on only one innings it's unfair to comment a batsmen of his calibre. When we will be plotting the match Vs. Pujara's strike rate graph(in the end of this tourney), We would have a proper curve-fit connecting mumbai to tokyo :)

  • on April 21, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    @mohanram82 dude i think u didnt watch both the games closely. pujara struggled bt rotated strike and Yuvraj in WCT20 final struggled worse as he was not able to get bat on ball to get even a single. when someone is hitting nicely, he needs lot of strike. How many balls did kohli get in last five overs of WCT20 final??? pujara provided that too maxwell and miller which kohli badly missed. M fan of Yuvraj. WCT20 final was a bad day fr Yuvraj. You cant compare two different innings. Give credit to Pujara. Remember this WCT20 playing level of Aus, they lacked solidity up the order. Everyone in the team was a big hitter and look wat happened in WCT20 to Aus. KKR has Kallis, RCB has parthiv, KXIP has pujara, RR has Rahane

  • DarthKetan on April 21, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    People said similar things when Dravid started out in ODIs, or Dravid/Kallis etc in T20s, but they were all able to adapt and excel -- given him time and Pujara will too. And stop typecasting him please before giving him a chance - FYI - his career strike in Tests is actually marginally better than Kohli's....

  • bishnoi.m29 on April 21, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    Pujara is india's future. and be positive he is the rock kings eleven would always need. best of luck to him. he just need to do what he is best at timings and findings the gap. he should stop thinking that he needs to prove anyone his worth, he is world class and India's Pride. Go Pujara ! We wanna always see you in action ! All the Best

  • on April 21, 2014, 14:18 GMT

    Watching pujara was frustrating....he doesn't fit into this format.If there was no rule of playing only 4 international players then he would have never been able to even make into final 11. Pujara should be dropped and I think Punjab skipper should open with sehwag.

  • on April 21, 2014, 14:06 GMT

    there is diffrent type of idiology about pujara 's batting just go to his style of batting and petionens to stay on the criz .he has quality to stand on pitch for 20 over which automaticaly change the mindset of rival team

  • IndTheBest on April 21, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    This is unfair and biased article on Pujara. We all know how good the TEST batsman Pujara is. This doesn't mean we call him ineligible for other format of the game. Pujara is doing fabulous job in the team of hard hitters. Punjab and RCB both team needs a Pujara on the top. As far the strike rate concern, if you compare S Dhawan, Rayudu, Rahane, M Pandey and even Tylor, you'd find that they all have strike rate of less than 120 at this time compared to Pujara's 110. So just calling Pujara unfit for the game and other's as specialist is not fair!! Cricket is a team game and it's Pujara on the top who allow privilege to other hard hitters in the team to raise the final score, without him overall team score would go down by 25-30 runs!!

  • Amar_bw on April 21, 2014, 13:49 GMT

    I thought Pujara was in fact excellent in this match. He rotated the strike very well and let Maxwell and Miller strike as much as possible causing Mohali to comfortably win the match.

  • devil_in_details on April 21, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    I felt sad for Pujara seeing him bat yesterday although I know I shouldnt. It was like Mozart trying to compose music for a bollywood film:). In the current 'greats' retired landscape of world batting he is the best Test batsman in the world, period.Neither Amla, nor ABDV, Clark or Kohli can compare with him. Quality-wise, at the current stage of his career, he is below only the previous greats at their absolute pomp. Lets hope he does adapt to this T20 slam bang but even if he doesnt it is alright. I just want him to bat in his assured and pleasing way, on bouncy tracks of Australia come the next World Cup.

  • mohanram82 on April 21, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    two different occasions: 1. yuvraj did same in WT20 final after early loss and in other end kohli going fluid. 2. pujara did same here, but he was praised. so its clear that win matters. say here.. how many will praise if miller not hit 4 sixes in kulkarni over and losed the match?

  • mohanram82 on April 21, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    no, their is nothing to support pujara... remember..they lost jus 3 wickets.. but jus 2 over stand for every wicket they will get through 20 overs... this fourty runs its matter of another 18 balls to miller.. even its not.. atleast from 30 balls is good enough.. but run a ball in nearly 200 runs that too only lost 3 wickets.. its not accepted.. if you are right. then yuvraj did the same in t20 final.. wen kohli gets going he kept calm.lol

  • on April 21, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    Pujara is a great test Batsman and has a promising career ahead of him, the IPL will only make him question himself and break his confidence. Maxwell in the long run will not even come close to Pujara, indian fans need to accept the saying ' Horses for Courses'. Pujara himself should opt out of entertainment gimmicks like the IPL if he values his career.

  • mohanram82 on April 21, 2014, 13:23 GMT

    if.. maxwell and miller and get through this match.. then everyone will criticise pujara... but they both done a magic to hide pujara's slowness...!!

  • KrikIndFan on April 21, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    Lets take Pujara's same innings in a different match where Maxwell & Miller fails to score past 10 runs, then what? Agreed where he tried to hit a big shot and couldn't time it but he can't be discourage based on just one match, the selectors knew very well his batting style before buying him amongst the Maxwells & Millers & Sehwags at the auction. And going by one match logic, what about Sehwag? Wasn't he suppose to entertain as well?

  • on April 21, 2014, 13:08 GMT

    Dear Pujara:

    Everyone can not excel in everything. You are a fantastic Test Player. Make an honest self-assessment. Muddled goal is the root cause for self-doubts. Trying to get into the playing XI for short formats by adding a bowling dimension (as you stated some weeks ago) was a clear indication of that muddle. Don't let that confused thinking creep in.

    However if you CAN make it to all the formats, with full self-assurance, there is nothing like it. All Indian cricket fans will rejoice, if that happens. But be prepared to backtrack form those tricky and slippery side-tracks. You are the best judge.

  • on April 21, 2014, 12:57 GMT

    Punjab have two very good t20 players in there team Mandy and vohra both can open. .hopefully pujara will b swapped with any one of these. . .pujara doesn't look like a t20 player so keep him aside and look for other options Punjab has

  • cmgv01 on April 21, 2014, 12:42 GMT

    I agree with Dipak Rana, about taking Pujara out of line up & King's 11 would bowled out in 15 overs in chase like this. He was rotating strike almost every ball. You want player like that in team when chasing huge target and on other end one hitter who can keep hitting ball without worrying about keep loosing wickets on both side.Almost identical game Miller played most of the 1st game until end to support Maxwell. Pujara is must in this line up to hold one end up with rotating strike to the big hitters Kings 11 got.

  • steve48 on April 21, 2014, 12:39 GMT

    Interesting article, contradicting a post on made on the other article about this match! Not seen the highlights yet, his share of the strike suggested a perfect support knock. Just shows, don't make conclusions from second hand information!

  • Nadeem1976 on April 21, 2014, 12:37 GMT

    You are wrong. he is very good player. One can only get better if he gets opportunities under pressure. I think he did well in last match. You are just want some body else in the team because he might not be in your fantasy league team. Come on grow up . T2020 is hard to adapt and if classic players like Pujara settle in they can win lot of matches. Just stop it.

  • on April 21, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    Kings XI has incredible openers Viru who turned Test into ODI, on the other hand Pujara turned a T20 into ODI.. So basically both wants to make a ODI like scores but in different formats.... Well Done Punjab... Both have their importance but they should mind the game formats...

  • vijon1111 on April 21, 2014, 12:29 GMT

    May be all out with in 15 overs.but they will made 150 runs.even pujara is there and kings bat full 20 overs,not sure kings made 150 runs in 20 overs.

  • on April 21, 2014, 12:24 GMT

    Pujara is one of the best player. just give some time for playing better. do not blame.

  • on April 21, 2014, 12:22 GMT

    It is not that Pujara cannot score faster. But he has to understand his strengths. Mowing a ball isn't his strength. He should trust his ability to time the ball through the gaps. He should keep players like Amla, Sanga, Mahela as his role models and not raina, rohit sharma or Kohli.

  • Guhah on April 21, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    He is a gem of a player and apart from virat none in current indian squad can match his skills of timing and perfection.

    Give some space to this lad before we start criticizing their style. Virat in 2008 IPL season was similar. For players like pujara it takes some time to adjust to this sort of game and start executing.

    To all those here who are comparing him with Maxwell and Miller, they can't even stand before him when it comes to test cricket which is the real cricket.

  • on April 21, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    i dont watch too many games, but i watched punjab's batting with my husband, now i play ladies cricket in LEICESTER, so i know a bit about cricket, THE POSITIVE thing about pujara's batting was, he is bit like rahul dravid, holds his end well, if he had had tried harder, there could've been 3-4 wickets from HIS END quite early in the match, and punjab could've been 100-7 with 6-7 overs to go, WOULD THE VICTORY HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE THEN? -- NO I DONT THINK SO ---- so pujara, while you might not play the next game, well done in this game against RR----- BY THE WAY--- all you negative men, cricket is a team game, in this match both players at crease were to get 9.5 runs and over, and between them, they did

  • sramesh_74 on April 21, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    Pujara should pick Dravid's brains if possible. There was a stage in RD's career when he could not hit the ball off the square in the one-day game. But RD was able to learn and adapt. After Sachin and Sehwag, he was India's best ODI batsman.

  • Kashi0127 on April 21, 2014, 12:03 GMT

    I happened to watch Gavaskars 32 not out( as opener in case people today do not know at what position he was batting) in the inagural ODI world cup and it was 60 overs a side those days. But Gavaskar was trying to prove a point then - that limited overs cricket had no place when we had glory of test cricket. I wonder if Pujara was trying to prove a point too - perhaps saying T20 or for that matter IPL has place in cricket world :)

  • on April 21, 2014, 11:58 GMT

    you take out Pujara and i bet you will find Kings XI Punjab all-out in 15 overs some day..

  • Kashi0127 on April 21, 2014, 11:55 GMT

    This is exactly what I have been saying. If you base India team selection, particularly tests, would be beaten hollow by even average opposition. Pujara is a class tesdt player but has no role in T20. Likewise Raina's and Pathans of this world are OK only for T20, not even ODI. I do not know where Sehwag, Gambhir would fit in... None I suppose. So foir those people who keep saying IPL is an opportunity for a player to be in selectors eyes, think again!

  • muski on April 21, 2014, 11:36 GMT

    Absolutely- he reminds one of VVS playing T20. He should thank Maxwell and Miller that they saved him of a big embarrassment. T20 cricket needs an Anchor. However the anchor should not be one who scores at an absymal rate. If you look at the perspective of the game, he had gobbled up 6 overs. Thats 30% of the overs. Even Dravid adapted his game to T20. Pujara should learn to accelerate. His forte is not big hitting. As the commentators said, he can take a leaf out of Mahelas book as to how to play T20.

  • vijon1111 on April 21, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    I think Mandeep Singh is better for kings than Pujara

  • on April 21, 2014, 11:29 GMT

    Pujara is a solid player with big hitters like Maxwell and Miller you are going to need someone that can stay rock at the other end. T20 is not necessarily about batters as you can see by the way Pujara played

  • on April 21, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    while it is true that pujara desperately struggled to time the ball, you also need to understand that being a test specialist, he did his job of holding one end tight and was constantly rotating strike to allow Maxwell and Miller to go and blast the ball to all corners of the park. Most of the batsmen in the Punjab team are hitters and you need someone who can hold one end up and at the same time rotate the strike and give it to the big hitters. SO people are being grossly unfair to him by criticising him for struggling to score at a faster rate.

  • on April 21, 2014, 11:09 GMT

    please don't do this.... I mean he s way way ahead of the so called incredible Maxwell and miller in test cricket... his list A average is much much higher than both... and what can he do when he s denied his rightful opportunity in limited overs cricket by dhoni? anyone would get frustrated

  • on April 21, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    I dont agree. With an aura of big hitters like maxwell, miller, bailey, and sehawag every game atleast any two of these guys will strike big. In a team like this u need a pujara who plays the anchor, rotate the strike and not hog too many balls. Well done pujara!!

  • ADARSH100 on April 21, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    Pujara was trying to hit the ball hard and as said in this article, was trying to crack the T20 code. It was clear when he was charging down the pitch and hit the balls harder and harder every time. He should not try too many things. If he sticks into his basics, he can do well in T20 too. He can anchor the innings and rotate the strikes regularly. He need to do that instead of going out after playing a rash shot. There are big hitters in Punjab, so Pujara needs to play the anchor and rotate the strike role. Just he must play to his strengths and basics.

  • anshu.s on April 21, 2014, 10:26 GMT

    Kings xi have got there team selection wrong, they retained Manan Vohra after all so why not play him and Vohra seems to be a classy young player and he had a good domestic season with his state side Punjab.I see the usual purist brigade coming up with comments like , oh IPL is beneath him and one other said let him not crack this T20 code....see if these Indian fans are trying so hard to mimic how Australian and some English fans view the game then good luck to them, but they have no right to demean shorter formats and certain players.

    This clearly bursts the myth that a good test cricketer can be a good T20 player, it is not question of one format being superior to there, it's just that all 3 require different skill set, just like in Tennis you have clay courts,grass and hard courts, in cue sports you have Pool,Snooker,Billiards.In Football you have teams like Barcelona and Bayern who play a certain style while Chelsea and Atletico Madrid employ different skill sets.

  • khs_shk2000 on April 21, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    Dont try to justify that he was holding one end. How many balls he consumed 1/3 of total balls and how much he scored 40 runs in remaining 2/3 they scored 152. During the match sometimes I felt that RR dont want Pujara to get out.

  • cris89 on April 21, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    It is such a pity to see Pujara playing T20. His entire game is oriented towards putting a high price on his wicket. Barring a rare poor shot, dismissing Pujara in Tests is a very difficult propostion. It happens due to a brilliant delivery or a clever plan by the bowler. This explains his stellar first class and Test averages. I don't want Pujara to get into this slam bang business and lose the technique makes him a 50+ Test average player..

  • on April 21, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    pujara is a nice buy by the kxip to maintain stability in the top order previously mandy and manan did not possess that quality

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on April 21, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    This is a very biased article. Pujara played an important knock, holding up one end while the big hitters went to town at the other. Even against CSK, Miller initially dropped the anchor when Maxwell was going berserk. Yesterday, Pujara did that and both Maxwell and Miller could get going almost as soon as they came in. KXIP need such a batsman to bat through the innings with the plethora of explosive batsmen around him. However, he needs to understand his role. He is not a slogger. He can play like Rahane does, bat through the innings, rotate the strike and let the others do the hitting. However, if he stays till the end, he needs to accelerate. If he is in till the 12/13th over, and the team is in a good position (1-2 wickets down), he should try to up the ante as slow play at that point would be counter productive. He is also technically strong, so he can handle some of the tougher bowling on good tracks. The management should tell him not to play under pressure and unnaturally slog

  • angelx on April 21, 2014, 8:28 GMT

    It looked like Pujara was struggling to find the his timing and placement right but it was still a crucial innings in the context of the game..we all know what fall of wickets can do in such a high run chase..Maxwell and Miller both needed a buffer at the other end and Pujara played that part very well..i always believe a test specialist can attune his game to any format of the game..so Pujara's time will come in ipl..Mark my words.......

  • venkatesh018 on April 21, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    Let Pujara not unlock this T20 code at all. He will be none the lesser for it. He is an absolute gem in the longer form and is a far more valuable player for India than the Rainas, Yuvis and the Rohit Sharms will ever be.

  • Dinv on April 21, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    You could not have captured better what we saw earlier today on Pujara. Great article. Very well written.

  • on April 21, 2014, 7:52 GMT

    Oh Pujara! IPL is beneath you. You have something more special than what is required for T20. Embrace it and give up T20/

  • on April 21, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    @imtiazjaleel...never compare Pujara with ur players(bangadesh player) you can't even able to produce batsmen like parthiv patel, Manish pandey...This is IPL man not like ur local club cricket

  • SrikanthMike on April 21, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    Its shocking why you editors discourage players this way. Pujara was playing an anchor role in the last match. He might not be fluent enough, but atleast he was helping the hitters to make the score board run. I don't think its necessary that both batsmen on field should fire in T20s. You have mentioned that between 10 & 12 overs he faced only 4 balls, you're right, but atleast he was allowing hitters to fire by himself not taking strike and wasting balls.

  • AltafPatel on April 21, 2014, 7:30 GMT

    I remember similar kind of issue was there with Hyderabad Deccan Chargers in 2009 season with Laxman hardly getting a singles even though the side had solids like Gilchrist, Symonds, Gibbs, Styrish etc. Finally Laxman placed himself out of the tournaments after few matches that turned the team to the championship trophy !

  • AltafPatel on April 21, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    It was ridiculous to see Pujara trying to play at T20 pace. He either could hardly time the ball or ball was passing inside edge, all for singles ! He almost lost the game for Punjab even though Maxwel and Miller played at 200 and 270 SR respectively. Wish he gets ousted from rest of the tournament if Punjab is serious in the tournament.

  • AltafPatel on April 21, 2014, 7:24 GMT

    Knowing in-form Maxwel, Miller, Bailey, Rajasthan tried their all not to out Pujara who almost lost game for Punjab. Wish Punjab get rid of Pujara earliest before it cost them. Strange that Miller and Bailey comes at No 6 and 7. Mumbai Indians did same mistake in 2010 season with Pollard and it cost them most deserving trophy.

  • Prats6 on April 21, 2014, 7:16 GMT

    Adding to the comment: This was the innings where we have seen CP not play fluently the most ever; and he could still muster up a decent innings, No doubts in my mind, he will turn it around. Lets wait to get to Mohali & Dharamsala, see how many of the sloggers click there!

  • Prats6 on April 21, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    As a big admirer of Pujara, it was slightly painful to see him try to slog. Make no mistake it was a decent innings, but with the required rate so high, made him look he was struggling. The writer on the other hand has completely lost the context of the state of play and the quality of the player.First, Rahul did not perform in his first IPL; second, it was very important for someone to hold one end up. Give CP some time, he will get better. He should focus on his strengths, power hitting is not; improvisation is - I have no doubts in my mind he can play any format; he will go back today and work the hardest on his game.

  • on April 21, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    Why to keep Pujara like that if you've Vohra? At least try to change a bit and put the boy in. He can bat.

  • Chn2 on April 21, 2014, 6:37 GMT

    A few shots are unlike Pujara. But he should be told by some one about his role which is not to play big shots, rather rotate strike and help Maxwell and Miller to go for big shot. All critic of Pujara must be aware that when pitch will be green & swing friendly in Mohali & Dharamsala the same Pujara will be No-1 man of KXIP to negotiate the swing and delay the entry of big hitter till the ball has stopped swinging.

  • Dysan25 on April 21, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Test Cricket is all about role-playing in context of the game (5 days) and then taking one ball at a time. T20 is more about taking one ball at a time to score runs or drop anchor. Pujara is already doing the latter, and I think he will open up as the series progresses. He is in a good team and has backing of a good leader, so it shouldn't be difficult for him. Panic and Anxiety ?? Ofcourse, there will be .. But that is nothing compared to the sweet sound of the cover drive, cut or pull shot from the bat. Good luck to him for the next game.

  • imtiazjaleel on April 21, 2014, 5:49 GMT

    In T20 every batsman should be able to hit sixes. If he cannot hit sixes at least he should be able to score boundaries with a strike rate of 140+. You see Mushfiqur, Mominul Haque they are tiny tots but the shots they play are extraordinary.

  • paul_rocks on April 21, 2014, 5:35 GMT

    Pujara's innings in the context of the entire match was slow no doubt, however in context of Punjab, which has three genuine power hitters Sehwag, Maxwell and Milller, the innings was well measured. Even in T20 there has to be an anchor because losing a wicket is more detrimental than a dot ball. Pujara was not fluent or elegant in his approach but runs are runs and with time and confidence he should be able to increase the strike rate.

  • LongLiveTestCricket on April 21, 2014, 5:22 GMT

    Was trying to compare Pujara's kcock with that of Yuvraj in the WT20 final, the big difference was Pujara was able to rotate strike whereas Yuvraj was not.So the reqd run rate was high but atleast in none of the overs after the first 5 did he get bogged down playinh too many dot balls or keeping majority of the strike.Since he has not been a regular in this format, it'll take him time to develop his T20 game e.g. he did play the paddle shot to the pacer so surely he can work out some alternate shots if not the big power shots.With the talent that he has and also age being on his side, there is no reason why he can't.The issue with senior players like VVS was that they were playing T20 s at the fag end of their careers which is not the cae with Pujara.

  • on April 21, 2014, 5:21 GMT

    I think we should at least appreciate Pujara for staying till the end to make sure Kings XI is through even though it was one not flamboyant. He should have accelerated when he saw Maxwell is doing well on the other end. I am glad at least he gave Maxwell enough strike to perform. Otherwise KingsXI would have been folded. I hope he will look at his performance today and improve on that on the next game. Let us hope for the best.

  • rajuramki on April 21, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    T20 is a slam bang type of cricket where the only thing that matters is how many runs are scored and not how they are scored . Slogging is not Pujara's cup of tea as was the case with Laxman and Dravid . These players can play good cricketing shots in tests but cannot bat like Maxwell or Miller . Pujara has to play the role played by Badri for CSK , where he provided some kind of stability to a wobbling innings . Maxwell or Miller or Bailey cannot fire in all the matches and a time will come where Pujara's role will be better understood.

  • on April 21, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    How much time did Rahul Dravid take to play the slog shots? He did not start slogging overnight. Let's give Pujara some time to try and build a short version game around his abilities and improvise over a period of time. When Pujara plays you have an extra wicket in hand, opposition need to earn his wicket. He will be awesome if he can improvise his shots. I hope he will do something about his game and will be batsman to watch..

  • ultimatewarrior on April 21, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    after 6 IPL's for the first time Pujara got a fixed place and role in a team and I agree its not a very impressive start to a tournament by his stature(still he is better on strike rate with Rayudu/R Taylor/ABD/Warner this season with 30+ Runs). I guess even Kohli/Rahane were not an extraordinary batsman in first 2-3 seasons...also pls check kallis/dravid's Strike rates in earlier seasons...Give him time to settle surely he will improvise...He is not a type of player who will require 30-40 matches to fire...

  • deepeshsx on April 21, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Unnecessary criticism. Writer didn't realize the value of his innings. If wickets fell continuously and big strikers don't get strike you know what happens. India in WT20 final. I would love to see Pujara in Indian T20 and one day team. So that our strikers can play around him.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on April 21, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    It'll take time for Pujara to adapt to shorter formats. The great Rahul Dravid didn't master the limited overs format until 2002 or thereabouts, when he was 29- Pujara is pretty much in the same mould.

  • karamana on April 21, 2014, 4:18 GMT

    Spot on Karthik. Watching Pujara bat, I was reminded of Laxman's struggles in IPL.

  • GaneshIyer on April 21, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    He is not a limited overs player. He is not athletic to say the least (he had is knee operated twice I believe). Athleticism is a must in shorter format of cricket.

    He is technically correct but power hitting is not his forte.

    In comparison, Rahul dravid had the lofted shots over mid wicket, Hook and pull and lofted shots over the cover & extra cover areas. This made RD a decent T20 player and a good 50 over batsmen.

  • on April 21, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    Sure, it was one of the most dull moments in this IPL but I didn't understand the author's intention here. Seemed to me as boring as that innings!!

  • NikSaid on April 21, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    nah, completely biased and unwarranted over analysis. i watched the game live too like you did from Bangalore and felt he was mostly supporting strike rotation and only couple of time tried to mimic maxi n did failed horribly. but he did perform to his expectation from team, you could se that when camera showed mohali dugout.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • NikSaid on April 21, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    nah, completely biased and unwarranted over analysis. i watched the game live too like you did from Bangalore and felt he was mostly supporting strike rotation and only couple of time tried to mimic maxi n did failed horribly. but he did perform to his expectation from team, you could se that when camera showed mohali dugout.

  • on April 21, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    Sure, it was one of the most dull moments in this IPL but I didn't understand the author's intention here. Seemed to me as boring as that innings!!

  • GaneshIyer on April 21, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    He is not a limited overs player. He is not athletic to say the least (he had is knee operated twice I believe). Athleticism is a must in shorter format of cricket.

    He is technically correct but power hitting is not his forte.

    In comparison, Rahul dravid had the lofted shots over mid wicket, Hook and pull and lofted shots over the cover & extra cover areas. This made RD a decent T20 player and a good 50 over batsmen.

  • karamana on April 21, 2014, 4:18 GMT

    Spot on Karthik. Watching Pujara bat, I was reminded of Laxman's struggles in IPL.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on April 21, 2014, 4:42 GMT

    It'll take time for Pujara to adapt to shorter formats. The great Rahul Dravid didn't master the limited overs format until 2002 or thereabouts, when he was 29- Pujara is pretty much in the same mould.

  • deepeshsx on April 21, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Unnecessary criticism. Writer didn't realize the value of his innings. If wickets fell continuously and big strikers don't get strike you know what happens. India in WT20 final. I would love to see Pujara in Indian T20 and one day team. So that our strikers can play around him.

  • ultimatewarrior on April 21, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    after 6 IPL's for the first time Pujara got a fixed place and role in a team and I agree its not a very impressive start to a tournament by his stature(still he is better on strike rate with Rayudu/R Taylor/ABD/Warner this season with 30+ Runs). I guess even Kohli/Rahane were not an extraordinary batsman in first 2-3 seasons...also pls check kallis/dravid's Strike rates in earlier seasons...Give him time to settle surely he will improvise...He is not a type of player who will require 30-40 matches to fire...

  • on April 21, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    How much time did Rahul Dravid take to play the slog shots? He did not start slogging overnight. Let's give Pujara some time to try and build a short version game around his abilities and improvise over a period of time. When Pujara plays you have an extra wicket in hand, opposition need to earn his wicket. He will be awesome if he can improvise his shots. I hope he will do something about his game and will be batsman to watch..

  • rajuramki on April 21, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    T20 is a slam bang type of cricket where the only thing that matters is how many runs are scored and not how they are scored . Slogging is not Pujara's cup of tea as was the case with Laxman and Dravid . These players can play good cricketing shots in tests but cannot bat like Maxwell or Miller . Pujara has to play the role played by Badri for CSK , where he provided some kind of stability to a wobbling innings . Maxwell or Miller or Bailey cannot fire in all the matches and a time will come where Pujara's role will be better understood.

  • on April 21, 2014, 5:21 GMT

    I think we should at least appreciate Pujara for staying till the end to make sure Kings XI is through even though it was one not flamboyant. He should have accelerated when he saw Maxwell is doing well on the other end. I am glad at least he gave Maxwell enough strike to perform. Otherwise KingsXI would have been folded. I hope he will look at his performance today and improve on that on the next game. Let us hope for the best.