As India came out to bat on Day 2 of WTC Final 2021, it was a great battle between the batsmen and the Kiwi bowlers in challenging playing conditions in Southampton. After Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill were dismissed post a steady start, the onus was on India's No. 3 - Cheteshwar Pujara. However, the 33-year-old came under some scrutiny for playing so many dot balls in his innings.
After playing 35 dot balls, Pujara scored two consecutive boundaries. He played a few more dot balls before finally being adjudged LBW off the bowling of Trent Boult. While his knock was crucial in negating the crucial middle-phase where the Dukes ball tends to swing more, South African pace legend Dale Steyn had some criticism for the batsman.
Pujara could have got the score to nudge on a little bit: Steyn
The 37-year-old opined that Pujara could have been a bit more pro-active while batting which could have helped himself as well as the team. Although Steyn admitted that everyone knows that this is the kind of player that he is, the bowler added that he was sure that if Pujara looked back and looked at the sample of video analysis, he would find that there are deliveries where he could have created the opportunity to maybe rotate a little bit more strike.
"I saw something come up and it was like 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 4, 4, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and then a wicket. I'm sure in all those 50 balls, he could have rotated the strike and just gotten that scoring to nudge on a little bit for himself and as well as his team," said Steyn in a conversation with ESPNcricinfo. Notably, Pujara's hard-fought knock ended on 8 runs off 54 deliveries which included 52 dot balls and 2 boundaries.