Oli Soames using India star Cheteshwar Pujara blueprint by focusing on Hampshire building blocks

Oli Soames has been taking notes from watching India Test star Cheteshwar Pujara on how to grind bowlers down.

Sunday, 9th June 2019, 5:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 8:38 am
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 27: Cheteshwar Pujara of India celebrates his century with Virat Kohli of India during day two of the Third Test match in the series between Australia and India at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 27, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Hampshire opening batsman Soames facilitates his more expansive team-mates’ styles by patiently laying the foundations of the innings – which has helped the team score the most batting bonus points in the Specsavers County Championship this season, writes Alex Smith.

Soames, 23, who spent his winter with Essendon Cricket Club in Melbourne, watched Pujara bore Australia with 106 from 319 balls during the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

And Pujara, who led the scoring charts with 521 runs in the four-match series, has given Soames the confidence to give Hampshire a steady start at the top of the batting order.

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Soames said: ‘I went to the Boxing Day Test on the first day and it was a slow day but that is something I appreciated.

“I feel like a lot of people get stuck up on run rates but when I was in Australia, I saw Pujara bat for two days and got India into a winning position.

‘It takes a lot of skill when you face three quick bowlers in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood to grind them down.

‘He has a lot of skill but he doesn’t have that X-factor like a Kohli or a de Villiers. I also don’t see myself as those guys but as a technically sound batsman who can bat a long time.

‘I understand my game; I am not an expansive player, if the ball is in my area then I will play at it but I won’t go searching for it. I want to bat as long as possible.

‘If you are tight around that off stump defensively and leave well then that is when the bowlers start to get frustrated and the runs start to come.

‘In four-day cricket I don’t need to go searching for it. There is enough time. We have enough hitters down the order at Hampshire who can catch up later in the day.’