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Cheteshwar Pujara not concerned after his batting failure in the Antigua Test

The 28-year-old chose to spent the optional practice day in the nets working on his batting and fielding.

Cheteshwar Pujara India Cricket
Pujara is confident that he can convert his good starts to big scores in the near future

Despite the intense competition for places in the Indian Test side, especially at the No 3 spot, Cheteshwar Pujara expressed confidence that he can return to his big-scoring ways in the second Test against the West Indies which begins at Jamaica on Saturday. The right-handed batsman said that he has the confidence of coach Anil Kumble and is focussed on helping his team achieve their target of the being the No 1 side in the world. 

“I have spoken to him (Kumble), he told me about a few things which obviously I cannot disclose here. He has been very positive with the way I have batted in the past and contributions I have made. And he is very happy with the way I have been batting,” Pujara said. 

“Things remain very simple. I always have to contribute and play with responsibility. And I have been doing that and keep working hard on my game as I have been. And I don't think I need to really worry much about the kind of performances I have put on or what everyone is saying.”

Pujara opted to hit the nets on what was an optional practice day for the Indian team with the Saurashtra cricketer claiming that he was someone who liked to put in an extra effort, not just with his batting but with regards to his contributions as a fielder as well.

“I think I just want to practice a little more since I didn't score runs in the first Test match, so I can get some extra hits. I am the kind of player who likes to work hard. Whenever there is an option to practice I prefer to practice. It is always about the individual who wants to take a break or practice. I am the kind of player who prefers to practice even on an optional day,” he said. 

“When you are fielding in slips it is important to take as many catches as possible. When you are practicing at the same time you need to know your partners well because when you are fielding at first or second slip you need to have the right distance in between. It is always about communicating and once you have the right judgement and you have taken the right number of catches you learn many things. Distance is the most important thing,” he added. 

Realise I played a bad shot in the last Test: Pujara

With KL Rahul waiting for his opportunity, Pujara knows he has to score big soon to cement his place in the side but it is not something that is bothering the 28-year-old too much. 

“Not worried, overall I have been batting well. Even in South Africa series, there have been good scores and good batting on challenging wickets. So, at times you have to be realistic and see the contribution without seeing whether I am getting hundreds or big double hundreds. It's always about contributing to the team's success,” he said. 

“I feel I am batting well without worrying too much about it and at the same time I realised I played a bad shot in the last Test match when I was looking good. I did the hard work in the first session when the ball was moving. Obviously, I played a bad shot and there are things to learn from that particular game. Overall the team did well and I am really happy with the way things are going.”

Pujara also praised the comradery within the Indian dressing room and feels the side led by Virat Kohli has the potential to be the No 1 side in the world in the longer format of the game. 

This environment was good in the dressing room previously as well (before India’s innings victory against the hosts in the first Test). When the team doesn't do well, people feel that the dressing room is not good. Previously too, the environment was good, it is good now as well,” Pujara said. 

“The good thing is that all of us are young players and we have known each other very well. We have played a lot of cricket together starting from Under 19 to India A, and there are quite a few team bonding sessions where we get to know each other better. So, it is a good activity where we spend time to understand each others' perspectives. We have a simple goal, we want to win it. So, that's the target currently, starting from the second Test, but the goal is to win the series. Going ahead we want to be the No.1 test team in the world,” he added. 

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