Cheteshwar Pujara, who is gearing up to make a comeback to the IPL after seven years, has revealed that the scoop over fine-leg against a fast bowler is the most fearless stroke he has played till date.
The Test specialist, who last played in the IPL back in 2014, was picked by the Chennai Super Kings at the auction earlier this year for his base price of INR 50 lakh.
In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Cheteshwar Pujara asserted that he is confident of doing well in the IPL. Renowned for his dogged defence, the 33-year-old pointed out that he too has played innovative strokes in the IPL. Cheteshwar Pujara stated:
“The scoop over fine leg against a fast bowler (is my most fearless stroke). Even in the IPL I have done that. At least three or four times. I remember getting a four that way when we played in Dubai (in 2014)."
Cheteshwar Pujara represented the Kolkata Knight Riders in the first three editions of the IPL. He was later purchased by the Royal Challengers Bangalore before moving on to the Punjab Kings.
He has so far featured in 30 IPL games and has 390 runs to his credit at a strike rate of a shade under 100. Cheteshwar Pujara has cracked only one half-century in the IPL so far.
Recently though, he was seen in a different batting avatar as he smashed sixes in the CSK’s nets with a new batting stance. The video of the Cheteshwar Pujara’s aggressive batting approach went viral.
I can never play a reverse scoop like Rishabh Pant: Cheteshwar Pujara
The popularity of T20 cricket and the IPL has seen the invention of unorthodox strokes, like the reverse-scoop against fast bowlers being popularized by Rishabh Pant.
Cheteshwar Pujara candidly admitted that he cannot dare to play such a shot. He conceded:
“Never! I can't do that. I can't do that (smiles). Going over third man (by reverse-scooping) as a right-hander is tough. Going over fine leg, that I have tried.”
Describing Pant as an instinctive cricketer, Cheteshwar Pujara added that the maverick wicketkeeper-batsman must stick to his strengths. The dogged batsman elaborated:
“Well, (he has) a unique way of looking at things. He is successful because he is fearless. And he has to bat the way he knows - by assessing the situation, and if he thinks he can do that, then then why not. He can only be successful backing his own strengths. He is very instinctive. And he has to stick to that. Everyone including us in the dressing room was stunned, but that is something unique about him. If he can pull that off again and again, there is nothing wrong.”
CSK will begin their IPL 2021 campaign by taking on the Pant-led Delhi Capitals at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 10.