Cheteshwar Pujara credits Rahul Dravid's words of confidence for century knock
Cheteshwar Pujara has thanked India A coach Rahul Dravid for his support during his time away from the Indian Test team, Times of India reports. The 27-year-old said that Dravid had reassured him that there was nothing wrong in his technique and added that playing close to his body proved crucial in his unbeaten knock of 135 against Sri Lanka today.
“The best thing came out of Rahul Dravid when I was playing with India A team. He said that there is nothing wrong with my technique. So he told me to keep calm. He watched me bat in the nets and told me that there is a big one coming very soon, maybe in Sri Lanka or even in the India-A game. So that gave me lots of confidence and belief in myself," said Pujara.
“He (Dravid) felt that overall, I was batting really well during England and Australia tours. It's just that I didn't convert the 30s or 40s into a big one. So I decided to stick to what I do and continue playing the way I have been."
The Rajkot-born player added that playing with a clear mind helped him play his natural game.
“I kept things simple. When I went in, I just had to go bat and play my natural game. I thought that if I think about all the stuff that had been happening, that I am not batting at my regular position and this is the last opportunity that might be there and so on, I wouldn't be able to go and perform to the best of my abilities," Pujara said.
"I had been working hard. The best thing I needed to do was focus on what I have to do. The plan was very simple - try and rotate the strike and see through the new ball, and once I am set, obviously I could play my shots and build a partnership with other players."
Pujara added 104 runs for the eighth wicket with Amit Mishra who scored 59 and the Saurashtra player heaped praise on Mishra for his brilliant knock.
"The partnership with Amit Mishra was really important. He batted really well which allowed us to put on 292 on the board at the moment. He faced the second new ball, which was really important because had we lost a wicket then, things would have been very different," he said.
Pujara further talked about his innings and said that playing close to his body was crucial to his success.
"I was trying to play close to the body. The main thing I noticed that a few players got out because they played away from the body. That's the thing I tried doing. But the wicket was really challenging and you can't blame the players,” he said. “The first ball KL Rahul got was really difficult. It was difficult to predict whether it is going to come in. It is obviously a difficult wicket, but you need to survive and the main thing I did was play close to the body."
Though happy with the team’s batting, Pujara feels that the bowlers will have to dismiss the Sri Lankan batsmen to force a result in the series decider.