India’s dependable batsman Cheteshwar Pujara is suffering from an erratic form. The one-downer could score only 8 runs in the first innings of the ongoing World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton. Pujara also opened his account on the 36th ball of his innings, but couldn’t build on his slow start. Kiwi pacer Trent Boult caught Pujara leg before wicket when he was just on 8.
His poor form is attracting harsh criticism that the upcoming tour of England could well be his last if the 33-year-old doesn’t earn his extension.
Pujara made his debut against Australia in 2010, and since then played 85 red-ball matches. He has scored 6,244 runs in the 142 innings he came to bat with an average of 46.59. He has 18 hundreds and 29 half-centuries in his name. His highest score is 206 in Ahmedabad against England in 2012.
However, the upcoming England tour could well prove to be a turning point in his career. Many are seeing the five-match Test series that will begin in August to be his last opportunity to extend his career. Another reason for the criticism of Pujara is that he has not been able to hit a Test ton since August 2019.
Pujara has played 17 longer format games since August 2019. He has made 818 runs in the 28 outings with an average of 29.21. Moreover, he has only nine half centuries in these 28 innings. His performance in English conditions is also not very encouraging. Pujara has played nine Tests in England and made just 500 runs with an average of 29.41. Therefore, the 33-year-old cricketer really needs to up the ante in the upcoming tour.
In the last two series against Australia and England, Pujara couldn’t develop his innings. Team India’s batting coach Vikram Rathor said Pujara needs to convert his innings into big scores.