India vs South Africa: Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane must change mindset, says Dilip Vengsarkar | Cricket News – Times of India
The veteran middle-order batsmen’s poor streak continued in the first innings of the ongoing second Test against South Africa at the Wanderers. Both succumbed to pacer Duanne Olivier, while Pujara was out to a short ball at point for a 33-ball 3, Rahane hung his bat outside the off stump to be dismissed for a first-ball duck.
However, Pujara looked a very different batsman in the second innings and carried the fight to South Africa with an unbeaten 35 off just 42 balls with seven fours on Tuesday, doing exactly what Vengsarkar had prescribed. Even Rahane looked secure during his short stay in the middle, being 11 not out at stumps.
Decoding their problems in the middle, Vengsarkar told TOI: “Unfortunately for Pujara, he plays only in the longer format and by not improvising while at the crease and going into his shell, he builds enormous pressure upon himself to perform.
“Rahane, on the other hand, I feel is getting too much into the technicalities when his focus should be to score runs. He looked good in the first innings of the first Test but he needs to get out of that mental block of looking technically good instead of looking for gaps in the field and scoring runs.
“There are younger players like Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shubman Gill, who would eventually take their places, but I believe Pujara and Rahane still have a lot to offer at the highest level, only if they change their mindset.
“After doing so well on tougher tours, instead of going forward and dominating the way Kohli and Rohit Sharma, in the recent past they haven’t progressed at the Test level as I would have liked them to.
“As a batsman, one can’t bat in the first gear always. One has to improvise and shift gears once set. It not only helps the batsman himself, but also the batsman batting with them.”
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