New Delhi - India number three batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has been urged
to up his strike rate and not go on the defensive, skipper Virat Kohli revealed
after winning the first Test against New Zealand.
Pujara, who burst onto the scene with a string of centuries
a few years ago, has struggled a bit this year to find big scores, and Kohli
was pleased to see that the advice dished out in the West Indies showed results
Pujara made scores of 62 and 78 in the victory, batting much
quicker than he did before he was dropped in the Caribbean last month. Kohli
was glad to see this return to form.
Kohli said: "Pujara is someone who absorbs the pressure
really well but after a certain stage in the innings there comes a time when
the team needs runs.
"That's where we felt that he has the ability to
capitalise. It was just about conveying that to him. He has worked hard on his
"He scored at a good strike rate in the Duleep Trophy.
Even on this wicket he was scoring at 65, almost 70 strike rate.
"Which for me was a revelation, to see Pujara bat that
way. Because he used to bat that way initially. Especially at home.
"If you see his double-hundreds against England and
Australia, he will dominate spinners. That's exactly what we wanted him to do.
We didn't want him to go into a shell. We want Pujara to bat to his potential.
"Once he starts scoring runs to go with the composure
he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of
the game. That's all we wanted to convey to him.
"He's someone who understands what the team wants. He
has worked hard on his game. He has come back, and he is playing more
positively. Which we appreciate as a team and me personally as a captain.
"That he has actually gone and worked hard on his game.
He has not told us 'this is my comfort zone and I am not going to get out of
it'. That is the kind of characters we need to win games and series."
The second Test starts on 30 September in Kolkata.