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"I never wanted Rishabh Pant not to play his game" - Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara observed Rishabh Pant
Cheteshwar Pujara observed Rishabh Pant's aggressive game was the need of the hour
Kartik Iyer
ANALYST
Modified 11 Jan 2021, 20:02 IST
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Indian batting star Cheteshwar Pujara has revealed that he did not ask Rishabh Pant to temper his game on the final day of the Sydney Test, as the Australians were feeling the pressure of the latter's onslaught.

Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara shared a record 148-run fourth-wicket partnership to raise India's hopes of registering an unlikely win.

Unfortunately, both of them were dismissed within a few overs of each other, leaving Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin to play out the remaining overs for a draw.

During a post-match interview with the Sony Sports Network, Ajit Agarkar asked Cheteshwar Pujara if he had tried to stop Rishabh Pant from playing attacking shots in the middle, or if that does not make any difference.

Pujara responded saying there was no need to restrain the swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsmen, as his strokes were piling pressure on the Aussies.

"I was talking to him after every over. But I never wanted him not to play his game. The sort of shots he was playing, it was necessary to play them as well because it was building the pressure on the Australian team," said Pujara.

Cheteshwar Pujara added that there were probably a couple of instances when he might have asked Pant to exercise some restraint, but otherwise he had given the latter a free rein.

"I felt there was not much need for me to stop his attacking game but there were two or three such phases when I told him to play a little cautiously or to rotate the strike as there was no need to take too many risks. If there was a situation like that, then only I told him but otherwise I didn't find the need to stop him because he was looking in a very good flow," added Pujara.

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"The focus is more on the match results" - Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara reached 6000 career runs during the course of his innings
Cheteshwar Pujara reached 6000 career runs during the course of his innings

Sanjay Manjrekar further asked Cheteshwar Pujara about his feelings on crossing the 6000-run mark in Test cricket during his match-saving knock in the Sydney Test.

The dogged batsman replied that he is happy to have reached the milestone, although he was not even aware that he was nearing the mark.

"Definitely it is a big achievement but when you play you don't pay that much attention to the runs you have scored. This was an important series, so I didn't even know that I was nearing 6000 runs," stated Pujara.
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Cheteshwar Pujara signed off by stating that he and the Indian team were more concerned about the match results. He said India would be elated if they manage to win the final encounter in Brisbane to bag the series.

"It is always good to achieve some milestones but I feel it is such an important series where the focus is more on the match results. The fourth Test match is even more important and hopefully we will have a victory in that and we will be even more happier," concluded Pujara.

Indian cricket fans will be hoping that the Ajinkya Rahane-led outfit puts it across the Kangaroos in the final Test to win back-to-back series in Australia.

However, it will not be an easy task considering the injury concerns in the Indian team, with Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuma Vihari also ruled out from the series-decider.


Published 11 Jan 2021, 20:02 IST
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