Cheteshwar Pujara said he feels for his fellow Test specialist Hanuma Vihari after the latter was not picked for the 14th edition of the IPL. Pujara, meanwhile, will take part in the IPL for the first time since 2014.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) secured Cheteshwar Pujara's services at the 2021 auction, signing him up for his base price of INR 50 lakh. All the franchisees in the auction room gave a round of applause for CSK once they signed Pujara.
However, Hanuma Vihari, who like Pujara is only seen as a Test specialist, didn't find a team at the last auction and went unsold. The middle-order batsman was part of the IPL in 2019 for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
"Last few years, I'm the only one who has been missing out [on playing in the IPL] from the Indian team. The only guy missing out at this stage is Hanuma Vihari. I feel for him. He was previously part of the IPL. I feel that he should also be part of the IPL." Pujara said in an interaction with ESPNCricinfo.
The 33-year-old added that he has been rewarded for his devotion to Indian cricket.
"I'm really pleased that what I've done for the Indian team is noticed and I got results for that. I was told when I was picked, all the franchises clapped [in the auction room]. I feel that when you are doing something for the Indian team, people love it. They know the value I bring in. Not just the franchises, almost all my [India] team-mates were really happy for me."
CSK will be Cheteshwar Pujara's fourth franchise in the IPL, having played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings).
"You just need to express yourself"- Cheteshwar Pujara on playing T20 cricket
Cheteshwar Pujara still feels that playing Test cricket brings more pressure on the batsman than playing in T20's. The Indian batsman also sticks to his opinion that if a player can tackle red-ball cricket, then playing white-ball cricket should be easier for him.
"I definitely think so(on whether it is easier for someone who can tackle red-ball cricket to perform in white-ball cricket), especially the way the white ball travels. It is just about making the mental change. I feel that mentally if you are ready to make some adjustments, you don't need to take a lot of pressure. In Test cricket, there is a lot of pressure; there is a price on your wicket. But in the shorter format, you just need to express yourself and play all the shots you can." Cheteshwar Pujara observed.
In 30 IPL games, Pujara has amassed 390 runs at an average of 20.5, while his strike rate reads 99.74. It remains to be seen what kind of role the 33-year-old will play for the CSK outfit in the upcoming edition of the IPL.