Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane Don’t Give Confidence Anymore: Maninder Singh

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In the third Test at Headingley, former India cricketer Maninder Singh expressed his unhappiness with the Indian team’s batting performance, particularly with Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.

India were bowled out for 78 on Wednesday after winning the toss and electing to bat first. The England bowlers, led by James Anderson, were in a different mindset, determined to avenge their humiliation at Lord’s a week before.

KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, and skipper Virat Kohli poked Anderson’s moving deliveries in the first hour of play, as India lost the momentum from their 151-run triumph over England at Lord’s a week before.

India’s top score was 19 runs off 105 balls, with Ajinkya Rahane collecting 18 runs, the second-best on a scoreboard that saw eight batters bowled for single digit scores. Along with Rohit, Rahane, who scored 61 in a tight situation at Lord’s, seemed to restart India’s innings, but he was bowled by Ollie Robinson at the stroke of noon.

Maninder stated that Pujara and Rahane are not instilling confidence in the side, and that he is dissatisfied with Rahane, as he had believed the Mumbai batsmen would be confident following his Lord’s innings in the second Test.

“Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane don’t give confidence anymore. The kind of half-century that Rahane had struck at Lord’s, it felt he would come out to bat with confidence,” Maninder told ESPNcricinfo.

“But as soon as he came at the crease, he was defensive. Pujara too was over-defensive and that is why he is troubled on such pitches because if you miss out on run-scoring opportunities, you will get a delivery that will get you out,” he added.

Maninder claimed there was nothing wrong with India electing to bat first, but the batters played sloppy shots that cost them the game, and the former cricketer believed the Indian batsmen were overconfident, as if they were playing at home.

“You chose to bat first, but you subsequently played some sloppy shots. I had the impression that Indian batsmen were overconfident, as if they were playing on Indian surfaces. On Day 1, seam movement is always present in English pitches for the first two hours. So that’s where India went wrong. The way they played was quite disappointing,” Maninder stated.

In the five-match Test series, India is currently leading 1-0.

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