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Cricket news - The Pujara-Kohli batting conversations

"There have been times where because their [opposition's] focus is on Virat, I get some extra loose balls."

India's batting in Test cricket revolves around Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. They have been the pillars of the line-up for almost a decade now and the number three batsman gives an insight, while speaking to Harsha Bhogle in Cricbuzz in Conversation, as to what makes them click as a pair.

There cannot be two different batsmen than Kohli and Pujara. They are like chalk and cheese. One likes to dominate the opposition while the other grinds them out but both are necessary for a team's cause. The duo have accumulated 2894 runs together with seven hundred and 14 fifty-plus partnerships and average 47.44 in 62 innings.

Pujara gives a glimpse into what it's like to bat with Kohli, "As soon as he comes he will ask what are they (the opposition) trying to do, how the ball is swinging. If it's a left-arm seamer, what are the angles he is using, whether he's trying to bowl an inswinger or an away swinger. There's a lot of communication."

The duo were earmarked as the future Dravid and Tendulkar of Indian cricket when they started off and though they have carved their own path, when it comes to batting together the traits are very similar to that of their predecessors. The opposition generally used to target Tendulkar as he was the bigger scalp and Dravid used to fly under the radar, it is a similar case with Kohli and Pujara.

"I enjoy batting with Kohli because he's a positive player. Once he's at the crease, I know that bowlers will try and take his wicket because they feel that they can get him out early.

"But his approach is different, he'll be positive. If he gets a half-volley on the first ball, he'll try and hit it for a four. So the scoreboard is moving, there's not much pressure on my side because the opposition is thinking that they'll have to pick Virat's wicket and he's playing positive.

"Their focus is shifting to Virat and I can be relaxed at the other end. There have been times where because their [opposition's] focus is on Virat, I get some extra loose balls."

Batting together is not only about building a partnership but also helping each other out and communicating the right things to do during certain phases of the innings. And when the batsmen are of the calibre of Kohli and Pujara then it is not difficult for them to adjust accordingly and implement the advice the other is giving.

"There are times where he would've played a cover drive when the ball is on the fifth or sixth stump, and I'll go and communicate to him that this is too wide. He plays his natural game, no doubt about that but he's ready to listen to that advice. Because if the ball is too wide for a cover drive, he also understands that it is not in his zone so he doesn't need to play that.

"But he will play a cover drive on the ball which is on the off-stump or fourth stump, but if it is on fifth stump, he will listen. He will tell me 'yeah I didn't play that well,'" Pujara adds.

You can watch the full Cricbuzz In Conversation episode ft. Pujara here: Part 1 and Part 2

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