Cheteshwar Pujara will finally be back in action in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after a gap of seven years. He was picked by the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL 2021 auction for his base price of INR 50 lakh.
In a video posted on the official Twitter account of the three-time IPL champions, Cheteshwar Pujara had a special message for CSK fans. He was also accompanied by his cute daughter, who won hearts through her innocent expressions.
Pujara said that it would be extremely special for him to play under former India skipper MS Dhoni. The latter was the India captain when the Saurashtra batsman made his Test debut.
"It's great to be back in the IPL. Really looking forward to playing in the yellow jersey. I will be playing with Dhoni bhai again. He was the captain of the Test team when I made my debut. So I have fond memories of playing under Mahi Bhai and really looking forward to playing with him again," Cheteshwar Pujara said.
CSK received a round of applause in the auction room from all the other franchises after they picked up Cheteshwar Pujara at the IPL 2021 auction. Such is the reputation earned by Pujara after his selfless batting in Test cricket of late.
"Hopeful that I will do well in the IPL" - Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara has played just 30 IPL games and has scored a mere 390 runs at a strike-rate of less than a run-a-ball. Many consider him as a Test specialist and not someone who is suited to the shortest format.
However, the 33-year-old believes one only needs to adjust mentally while shifting from red-ball cricket to white ball. He has been vocal about his desire to play white-ball cricket and is confident that he will do well in the upcoming season.
"IPL is a change of mindset, switching from the Test format to the IPL. So I think it is the mental aspect which changes quickly, and with good preparation, I am really hopeful that I will do well in the IPL," Cheteshwar Pujara asserted in the video.
CSK have traded in Robin Uthappa from the Rajasthan Royals and will likely open with young Ruturaj Gaikwad next season. They will also welcome back 'Mr. IPL' Suresh Raina, who will certainly slot in at No. 3.
Thus, it will be interesting to see where Pujara plays in this CSK playing XI. Although he may not get consistent game time, he will be itching to prove his white-ball credentials whenever he gets the opportunity.