Slip cordon concern for India, admits Pujara

Despite boasting of an outstanding ground fielding unit India's slip catching has been far from assured

This is one odd game where there wasn't much assistance from the pitch. "In India, on any other pitch on Day five, there will be a lot more help for them", the Saurashtra batsman asserted. There was not much help for spinners. We just accept it. So, we are trying to figure out options and we will definitely get better. So there are so many positives.

Cheteshwar Pujara, India's No.3, and someone who is adept at slips, admitted that slip-catching was an area of concern for the team ahead of their upcoming tour of South Africa.

"We are having a chat about it and we will assign a few players throughout the away series", Pujara said.

Despite winning the three-match series against Sri Lanka 1-0, India dropped quite a few catches, thanks to the rotation of various players in the crucial slip positions. "We will discuss (it more) when we reach South Africa but we are already talking about that." he said.

"I think we [India] will be very well prepared before heading to South Africa". At the same time, there have been injuries. At the same time there have been injuries with someone like M Vijay, who used to be at first slip didn't, not playing for six months. So we had to replace Vijay. I do agree that we haven't taken enough catches but we are working hard. The ultimate goal of any team is to win a Test match and when we play for the Indian team, its always about scoring runs and when it comes to test cricket we take it very seriously and we always try to win as many matches as we possibly can.

"Overall we have bowled really well, especially in this Test match considering the wicket".

"He is one of India's best batsmen and he has scored a lot of runs, in india and even overseas". We don't want to disturb him from there.

"All those players who were standing in the slips, they are taking about 50-100 catches every day. So we are trying to improve ourselves and eventually results will come", he added further.

The batsmen have been in great form, though, with Pujara finishing as the highest run-getter in Tests in 2017, and Kohli racking up the runs on a regular basis.

This Indian team's standing against those of the past will become clear over the next year but one thing is certain: the slip catching is decidedly worse, and worryingly it has not improved at all since they came together. Another thing, we have enough experience. I have been there in 2010 and 2013. Numerous players in this team were on the 2013 tour. Many of our players were there in 2013, at the same time our fast bowling unit is much better now and will do a lot of damage. But our fast bowlers bowled really well.

Dilruwan Perera, dropped once at second slip, and Angelo Mathews, let off twice, went on to bat valuable time - Mathews scored a century - that proved to be the difference in the final equation. "That will give us some advantage".

When asked about Ajinkya Rahane's poor form in the recently concluded series, Pujara backed him.

"[It is a] hard question to answer as I don't know technically what is going wrong", reckoned Pujara after the conclusion of the Delhi game on Wednesday.



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