Cheteshwar Pujara, currently gearing up to lead India ‘A’ in two four-day matches against a strong Australia ‘A’ unit in Chennai starting on July 22, spoke about how he plans to turn around what has been a disappointing year for him so far.
Dropped from the Test team on tours of Australia and Bangladesh, the technically and politically correct Pujara said, “These things happen. You have to accept it and move on. While I've tried hard, I know I haven't been able to match the standards I set out to achieve.
“Hopefully, the India A series will help me get in touch with the game and it goes on well. Then there is the Sri Lanka series. So I am hoping that things turn around for me."
"For two years, when most things went my way and I was scoring runs, I always knew there will be phases where you will be challenged, questioned and forced to dig deep.”
Well prepared to take on Aussies: Pujara
Varun Aaron has been ruled out of Wednesday’s match because of a viral fever, and there is a possibility that both Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha would be in the playing XI. The Australia ‘A’ squad is being led by Usman Khawaja, who is marking a return from a long injury lay-off, and has Indian-origin fast bowler Gurinder Sandhu.
“It’s always good to come back here. It’s a good opportunity representing Australia again. Looking forward to try and do well,” said Sandhu.
Pujara said, “We have the home advantage. We have devised plans for individuals. We had a video session. We have plans in place. Overall we are well prepared to take the Aussies."
County cricket tests technique and footwork: Pujara
Pujara also spoke in glowing terms about his stint with Yorkshire earlier this year, and his experience of cricket in England.
“For starters, county cricket does make you independent. You drive to the ground. You do your own laundry, shop for your own groceries. You aren't on autopilot. That is one aspect I really liked. Whether you have a good or bad day on the field, you still have to do things off the field. So you don't really tend to sit and keep thinking.
“Plus, I was always used to doing things independently even back home, like driving my own car, so it was an aspect of life that allowed me the space to be the individual you are, unlike during the IPL where you may not always do that because you are in a new city every second day, taking flights, shuttling buses and all that. Also to have my father and wife over in England meant we could spend time together, which doesn't always happen when you are on the road.
“In England, there is more seam movement and bounce.
“I have a good technique and have played in England before, in Tests and county cricket for Derbyshire last year. The first few games were tough and then I got used to the conditions and started scoring runs."
“Since there is swing and bounce, you need to react a fraction of a second earlier than you would maybe in India. In terms of experience, it has been valuable and if given a chance, I would love to go back. But again that depends on a whole lot of other factors like our international schedule, IPL etc."