Cheteshwar Pujara has said that he was concerned in the past that his Test batting would get affected if he concentrated too much on improving his T20 batting. However, advice from Rahul Dravid helped changed the perception of the current India no. 3. Dravid said to Pujara that a batsman's natural game and strengths never go away.
In an interaction with ESPNCricinfo, Pujara revealed the apprehension he had early on in his career when it came to improving his T20 batting:
"It all comes with experience. When I was playing the T20 format in the past, I had a little bit of a worry that what if I my Test cricket gets spoiled? Then there will be some technical error once the IPL gets over. But now I am over that. What I realised over a period of time is my natural game, my strengths, will never go away. This advice I got from Rahul bhai [Dravid] long ago, but I would still like to mention it. He told me that your natural game will not change although you try playing different shots." Cheteshwar Pujara said.
Elaborating on the same, Pujara said:
"I started playing cricket at an early age. I made my first-class debut in 2005-06. So it is almost 15 years now where I've played this game. So if I am playing the T20 format now, when I prepare for a Test series, I won't forget Test cricket. Adapting to the T20 format and moving into Test cricket again won't be an issue, for sure."
Not many expected Cheteshwar Pujara to be part of the 2021 edition of the IPL, given his 6-year absence from the tournament. But the 33-year-old has said that he always wanted to play the IPL again, and he is pleased to find a franchise for himself.
Cheteshwar Pujara's IPL career at a glance
Cheteshwar Pujara has played for the likes of Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings in the IPL. CSK, his fourth franchise, picked up the batsman at his base price of INR 50 lakh in the mini-auction earlier this year.
In his last IPL campaign in 2014, Cheteshwar Pujara played six games, scoring 125 runs at an average of 25. However, his strike rate was a paltry 100.8. Overall in his IPL career, the 33-year-old has played 30 games, with a career average and strike rate of 20.53 and 99.74, respectively.
Pujara's solitary IPL half-century came against the Kings XI Punjab when he was representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2013. Pujara scored 51 off 48 balls. However, RCB lost that encounter.