“A section of Cheteshwar Pujara’s game has been lost.” Dale Steyn (Dale Steyn)


Dale Steyn, a South African pacer, says Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has lost a part of his game by reducing his use of back-foot shots.

In the World Test Championship (WTC) final versus New Zealand, Pujara had a poor performance. In the first innings, he scored eight runs off 54 balls, followed by 15 runs off 80 deliveries in the second. The game ended with India losing by eight wickets.

The Indian No. 3 nicked a ball from Kyle Jamieson to first slip on Day 6, the Test’s reserve day. Dale Steyn told ESPNCricinfo that he was disappointed with Cheteshwar Pujara’s shot selection and that he wanted to see him take fewer strokes off the back foot.

“Out of my memory, I just remember Pujara playing great off his legs. Very, very good off his legs and eyes underneath the ball. But I do remember him playing some magical cut shots and back foot drives. Maybe on pitches that a little bit quicker – and Indian wickets are not quick – he played some beautiful balls underneath his eyes through the cover. It’s a part of the game that I feel he has lost.”

Dale Steyn added:

“That shot today that he played, if he was in a better position, a couple of years ago, maybe he would have gotten more on the back foot and punched it through the covers. Whereas he just stood there half and half on his front foot. Overall, a very soft dismissal – running it down to first slip is a very peculiar way of getting out for a top batter.”

Dale Steyn says Cheteshwar Pujara is missing out on runs.
Dale Steyn, regarded as one of the best bowlers in the game, bowled to Cheteshwar Pujara early in his career. The two had a fantastic match during India’s 2013-14 tour of South Africa, with the Indian batsman hitting a 153 in Johannesburg while Dale Steyn went wicketless in that innings.

Cheteshwar Pujara needs to be more proactive and not miss out on runs, according to the South African.

“That’s the thing I have seen lacking in Pujara. I’m so used to him rocking onto his back foot and playing with his hands and good feet movement. He’s kind of lost that part of his game. And if you’re only hanging on the front foot, good bowlers will not bowl half-volleys to you.”

Dale Steyn added:

“And you’ve got to turn good balls into good shots. That’s the difference between Test cricket and first-class cricket. He’s missing out on a lot of runs there.”

Since the end of the Australian tour in early 2019, Cheteshwar Pujara has averaged little over 28. Though he was instrumental in India’s victory in Australia earlier this year, he struggled during the home series against England.

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