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Thursday, August 05, 2021

‘Strike rate is absolute nonsense’: Karthik says Pujara wins matches for India

Cheteshwar Pujara might not have scored much in Down Under but he batted for a long, long time and helped India record a historic series win early this year.

By: Sports Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 21, 2021 4:30:11 pm
Cheteshwar Pujara has a big role to play in the WTC final, says Karthik. (AP/FILE)

India wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik feels that people should not be bothered about Cheteshwar Pujara’s strike rate and instead take a look at how he contributes to the team’s success.

Complimenting the Indian Test specialist’s strike rate for his performance against Australia, Karthik said that Pujara might not have scored much in the Down Under but he batted for a long, long time and helped India record a historic series win early this year.

“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 to bother about strike rate, let him play at whatever strike rate he wants to play, as long as he can win Test matches for India,” Karthik said on Star Sports’ Twitter Spaces on the eve of the WTC final.

“Now, Pujara, why hasn’t he scored runs? You have to understand if you take the last match, he was playing against ranked turners (against England back home), where the team was finding it hard to score 200 runs, and to expect Pujara to score a 100 is unfair,” the Kolkata Knight Riders player said.

“We have played under tough conditions… If you take that Sydney Test match, the number of blows that he (Pujara) just took. Pat Cummins (KKR teammate) was talking to me about that in the 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,” Karthik recalled.

“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,” said Karthick who will be commenting on the WTC final match.

Contrasting characters like fire and ice

Speaking on the bond between Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, the Tamil Nadu player said: “As cliché goes, fire and ice is the best way to put it for both of them. This guy (Virat Kohli) breathes fire, that guy (Kane Williamson) is about as cool as it comes. You need 32 runs in one over, he is still smiling and making it look like it’s too easy.”

It may be recalled the rivalry between Kohli and his Kiwi counterpart Williamson which started from the 2008 ICC Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia.

“Virat on the other hand, you know he is in your face, if you get it wrong once, he is going to give you the choicest of words when you go back – once you get out. That’s always been the experience that I have had and that is the beauty of playing with both of these guys. They love their cricket, but they play two different ways,” Karthik added.

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