LONDON: India opener K L Rahul has backed struggling Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to find form soon, saying both the batsmen are world-class players and experienced enough to know what it takes to return among runs.
The experienced duo of Pujara and Test vice-captain Rahane have not been at their best of late, averaging in the 20s this year.
While Pujara made 4, 12 not out and 9 in the three innings in England so far, Rahane managed just 5 and 1 in the two innings he got to play.
“Pujara and Ajinkya have done the job for India many times we were in trouble. They are world-class and experienced players so they know how to come out of a couple of innings they haven’t scored runs,” Rahul said at the press conference after the second day’s play in the second Test against England here.
“You have also to realise they are playing in tough conditions. In English conditions batting is always going to be challenging, you are going to get good balls. You can’t go out there and score runs in every innings, but if you get a start you make it count.”
Rahul (129) scored his fifth Test century at the hallowed Lord’s on Thursday.
But he admitted he was frustrated at missing out on a bigger hundred and taking the visitors to a bigger total.
He could add only two runs to his Thursday’s score before walking back to the dressing room amid a big applause.
Having played a fine knock, Rahul’s was a soft dismissal as he drove straight to the cover fielder in only the day’s second delivery, bowled by Ollie Robinson.
“I get frustrated when I am set and then get out. Obviously this (Friday) morning was really crucial for us having put 270 on board last night to go out there and get 70-80 runs in the first session which would have set things up really nicely. So that’s what I was looking to do,” Rahul said.
“I was feeling good and fresh, so wanted to go out there and being set batting at 127, I could have played with a lot of freedom. Really frustrated that I missed out on a juicy half volley. Just drove a half volley straight into covers hands. I was looking to build on my innings and get a bigger score.”
Back into the Test fold during the ongoing tour, Rahul has grabbed his opportunities with both hands.
Having already established himself in the limited-over formats, he said the key to success in five-day game is discipline and patience.
“Challenges are there in every format and we as players know what are the challenges and what we need to do to deal with them. But sometimes you perform, sometimes not because when you go in the middle the pressure is slightly different. The situation of the game is slightly different,” he said.
“Yes, one-day cricket is different because after 2 or 3 overs the ball stops swinging, even in green top it will swing for 5-10 overs but it’s completely different in Test cricket.
“It’s all about being disciplined and waiting for the loose balls and just trying to be as patient as you can and keep discipline in shot selection.”
Rahul said it was a special feeling to score a century at the hallowed Lord’s and witness your name on the honours board of the iconic ground.
“Every time you walk out to play for your country you want to score, give the team a good start. It was special once I stepped out of the ground and once you see your name in the honours board you feel a sense of achievement and sense of pride and I am no different.
“Every Test hundred is very very special for me and if it’s at Lord’s it becomes little sweeter.”
The stylish right-hander said with the Lord’s pitch not offering much assistance, Indian bowlers need to be disciplined and bowl according to plans to shoot out England quickly.
“It’s too early to predict. We are taking it as it comes. Obviously we want to go out there and get a couple of wickets in the first hour and put pressure on the English batsmen.
“There is not a lot happening on the pitch. We need to be really discipline with our line and length and just keep working on our plans. We obviously have plans for every batsmen so just stick to those plans,” Rahul said.