WTC final: Pujara just needs to convert those starts, says Vikram Rathour

Southampton: Cheteshwar Pujara might have got out cheaply in the first innings of the World Test Championship (WTC) final but India batting coach Vikram Rathour isn’t really concerned about the batsman’s form.

After the opening stand of 62, India lost three wickets for 26 runs as Pujara departed in the 41st over reducing India to 88/3 against New Zealand in the second session of day two of the WTC final.

“We are not really concerned and he is a good player. I don’t think the pace is an issue with him. I don’t think that’s a problem he has. Even today, till he batted, he looked solid and he has a role to play in the team and I think he is doing well,” Rathour said during a virtual press conference after the end of the day’s play.

“Today also, he played 50 odd balls. He just needs to convert those starts. It’s going to happen very soon,” he added.

After Pujara’s wicket skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane stitched a second important partnership with the pair ending the day unbeaten on 44 and 29 respectively in an unbroken stand of 58.

Rathour was pleased with the way his team kept plugging away after being put in to bat in difficult conditions.

“(Kohli and Rahane) batted well, I would give a lot of credit to Rohit and Gill as well because they started off really well. They were challenging conditions when we started. It was a fresh wicket, we lost the toss and it was overcast all day, so credit to all the batters. They showed a lot of restraint and a lot of discipline. We handled it pretty well,” said Rathour while replying to a query from ANI.

“A lot of discipline was shown today but there was a lot of intent to score runs as well. So it’s a reasonable day that we had overall,” he added…

At stumps on Day Two on Saturday, India’s score reads 146/3 and the batting coach feels anything above 250 would be a good first innings total for India against New Zealand.

“We are looking to play sessions well and if we keep doing that anything more than 250 plus would be a reasonable score under these conditions,” said Rathour

Talking about Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill’s opening stand, Rathour said,” If they come good, they can take an attack away when they come good. They put a lot of pressure on the bowling side. Unfortunately, both of them got out after getting set. Both of them playing the way they play can put a lot of pressure on the bowling side.

Rathour said the batsmen showed discipline but also scored runs whenever it was possible.

“I think it had both factors. Of course, countering the swing is well, but the discussion we have had as a team is that we need to be looking for runs wherever we can. If a loose ball is offered, we have to make it count,” said Rathour

“We could see it throughout the day. Though we showed discipline, I think we looked to score runs whenever there was an opportunity and that was good to see,” he signed off.