WTC Final: Dinesh Karthik backs Cheteshwar Pujara terms strike rate as absolute nonsense in Test Cricket

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Karthik – who has recently started his stint as a commentator as well – speaking on a Twitter Spaces Session organised by broadcaster Star Sports – took reference from former India opener Aakash Chopra’s point to elaborate his point of view.

“To touch upon Aakash Chopra’s point. Whatever he said was what I thought was perfect. He has been one of those people who has been the supporters of Pujara for a long time. And I feel this strike rate is absolute nonsense. If you take the number of Test matches that have gotten over in four days – it is about 80-82%. So, why bother about strike rate, let the guy play at whatever strike rate he wants to play, as long as he is able to win Test matches for India.

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“Now, Pujara, why hasn’t he scored runs? You have to understand, if you take the last match, he was playing against ranked turners, where the team was finding it hard to score 200 runs and to expect Pujara to score a 100 is unfair. We have played on some tough conditions, you can’t always put up numbers to justify how well a guy is playing.”

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Karthik – who has played 26 Tests, 94 ODIs and 32 T20Is for India – added further, “If you take that Sydney Test – absolutely like what Aakash just said – the number of blows that he just took. Pat Cummins was talking to me about that in IPL – saying the difference between India drawing the Test match and losing it was one man, Cheteshwar Pujara. The amount of time that he batted, he was giving him body blows. If you had put any of the other Indian batsmen at that stage of the day, early on when there is probably a little bit of juice, they would have struggled. There was a good chance we would have capitulated on that game. For us to not cross that hurdle, to get to Brisbane unscathed, the reason was Pujara in a big way. We can sit down and say, oh he has not got a 100. It doesn’t matter.

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“We know his calibre, we know his quality, his ability to play a long inning. I have no doubt that Pujara is a kingpin for us in Test cricket and we don’t need to be too engrossed in numbers to get 100+ runs. For that matter, Virat Kohli is also somebody who has got big tonnes over a period of time. It doesn’t matter, we know the calibre, we know the quality of players, we just need to give them the support they need when they are not getting those 100s because as much as we sit down here and talk on Twitter about them, they are far harder on themselves individually because they’ve tried themselves to the way they play the sport and for them getting a hundred will mean a lot,” the Tamil Nadu cricketer added further.

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