Cheteshwar Pujara’s mind has been messed up: Sunil Gavaskar
Cheteshwar Pujara stands in disbelief after gifting his wicket (Getty Images)

Too many opinions from too many people about Cheteshwar Pujara’s batting has only made things more complicated for the batsman, feels Sunil Gavaskar. The former Indian captain’s comments came in the wake of Pujara’s uncharacteristic dismissal on Day 1 of the third Test between India and England at Trent Bridge on Saturday.

Pujara was comfortably batting on 14 before off the second last ball before the lunch interval, he pulled a short ball straight down Adil Rashid’s throat at deep backward square giving Chris Woakes his third wicket. India, from 60/0, were reduced to 82/3 as Pujara just stood there, shaking his head in disbelief.

Gavaskar, writing for the Times of India, blamed the dismissal on those questioning Pujara’s natural game.

“Pujara, whose mind has been messed up by being told about his scoring rate, went for a hook on the stroke of lunch and was caught at deep square leg, Gavaskar said. “That’s not his natural shot and just showed that when you try and tell a batsman to change his approach after he has got more than 4000 runs, it can be counter-productive. Pujara’s strength is occupying the crease, so that batsmen at the other end can play their shots around him.”

The fact that India were put in by England skipper Joe Root was a debatable call. The surface had no such demons to trouble the Indian batsmen, and it was something that allowed the Indian batsmen to make merry. The top order was final able to shield Virat Kohli, and by the time the Indian skipper and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane came together to stich a 159-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Their stand was India’s highest on English soil since Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar put on 249 back in 2002. India finished the day at 307/6, which was also their third-highest total on the opening day of the Test match, behind the 375 they scored against New Zealand in Wellington in 2009 and 372 against South Africa at Bloemfontein in 2001.

“India losing the toss and being asked to bat first could well turn out to be a blessing in disguise for with the way the pitch has played the ball could turn for the team batting last and that won’t be easy to negotiate,” Gavaskar said. “When the Indians got to 50 without losing a wicket, Joe Root, the England skipper would have been wondering if his decision to field first was correct. Dhawan and Rahul looked good as they played close to the body didn’t poke outside the off stump and looked solid.”