Pujara has come under the scanner for his slow batting in Tests.

Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The first Test of the five-match series between England and India is set to get underway on Wednesday (August 4). Having lost the series by 1-4 last time around, all the eyes will be on the Virat Kohli-led side and going into the series, a few Indian players are certainly under pressure according to the experts. Cheteshwar Pujara is one of them whose strike-rate has come under the scanner over the last few months.

Many have accused India’s number three of playing too many dot balls and putting pressure on his partner at the other end. Moreover, Pujara also hasn’t scored a hundred in the longest format since the Sydney Test in 2019. But he has notched up nine fifties during this period. Many reckon that he could be dropped from the team if he doesn’t perform well in the first couple of Tests against England.

However, Cheteshwar Pujara has got the backing of his skipper Virat Kohli. Ahead of the opening Test in Nottingham, Kohli felt that the criticism around the 33-year-old is absolutely unnecessary and also added that even Pujara doesn’t care about it.

“The criticism is unnecessary, but I know for sure that Pujara doesn’t care. People can say what they want but at the end of the the day they are just words,” Kohli said in the pre-match press conference.

We are better prepared this time, says Virat Kohli

Team India players have been in England since June. They featured in the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand in the same month and lost. After a three-week break, the whole squad regrouped in Durham and practiced there along with playing a three-day warm-up game in the lead up to the Test series.

Probably for the same reason, Virat Kohli felt that the team is better prepared compared to the past for the series while also stating the team is more experienced than the 2018 tour when they lost 1-4. “We have a more experienced side than the last tour. We have players who can help the team recover from tough situations even if some of the younger players don’t manage to. We have been much better-prepared than we have been in the past,” Kohli added.


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