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Cheteshwar Pujara odd man out in Virat Kohli's aggressive India

India Today logo India Today 01-08-2016

In one of the slowest innings of his career, Cheteshwar Pujara took 159 balls for his 46 during the second day of the second Test against West Indies on Sunday.

Pujara, who joined opener KL Rahul after Shikhar Dhawan's departure on 27, was involved in a solid 121-run stand for the second wicket before he was run out in the 73rd over of the Indian innings.

There was a contrasting difference between Pujara and Rahul's style of batting. While the centurion Rahul dominated the bowlers and looked at ease, Pujara, on the other hand, took his time hitting just four fours in his knock that lasted 224 minutes.

Though Pujara helped India take the lead but his innings lacked confidence which once showed in the Saurashtra batsman. On the eve of the second Test, the 28-year-old batsman had said that coach Anil Kumble was happy with his form.

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Rare photos of cricketers Rare photos of cricketers

"He (Anil Kumble) told me he was happy with the contributions I have made in the past and is positive about the way I am currently batting," he had said.

However, Kohli had made his intentions clear ahead of the West Indies tour that India batsmen will have to score quickly on the Caribbean wickets and Pujara seems to have lagged behind in the race.

Will this knock be enough to retain his place in the team? This only time will tell. He might get another chance, maybe his last, to prove the critics wrong if India bat again in the ongoing Test but Pujara's current future in the team looks in serious doubt.

NO FIFTY IN SEVEN INNINGS

Pujara has struggled to go past a fifty-plus score in seven innings now. His last fifty came against South Africa in November last year in Mohali. Pujara was dropped following a poor run with the bat in 2014 when he aggregated just 483 at 24.15 scoring only a couple of fifties in 10 Tests.

"Pujara has got his own style of batting. He's got the patience and perseverance. He is a very useful batsman to have in the side. He strokes the ball beautifully," former India player Ajay Jadeja said on air. 

Jadeja further defended the batsman's style of play.

"He's not aggressive by nature. He blunts the bowling attack by defending the balls," he said.

Pujara, who averages 46.83, needs to lift up his game to cement his spot at No. 3 position, especially when players like Rohit Sharma waiting in the ranks.

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