I am looking forward to playing in the IPL: Cheteshwar Pujara

I am looking forward to playing in the IPL: Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara will captain Rest of India in Irani Trophy News
Cheteshwar Pujara of India. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

Indian Test No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara was appointed the captain of the Rest of India team that faced Ranji Trophy champs Gujarat for the Irani Cup and he led them from the front with the bat to help RoI chase 379 having conceded a first inning lead. He scored 86 and unbeaten 116 while Wriddhiman Saha scored his maiden FC double ton.

After the conclusion of the match, Pujara was pleased with the effort there but also expressed his desire to play T20 cricket and establish himself in the shorter formats. “I definitely want to make a mark in the Twenty20 format. I have done well in T20 matches. I played in the DY Patil T20 tournament [in Navi Mumbai] and got a hundred and two fifties. I am very confident that I can play well in other formats of the game.”

Pujara was termed a slow batsman for the Test format as well with people questioning his strike rate. He played a quickfire knock for Saurashtra and a big one to seal the doubters all shut. In a recent corporate T20 tournament the D.Y. Patil tournament in Mumbai he played 4 matches for Indian Oil and scored 183 runs with a splendid strike rate of 125.34. He scored one century and a half century in the series to back him up further as a limited-overs player.

The Zonal T20 tournament Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is all set to go underway on January 29. That gives Pujara a great chance to display his game and win a contract with an IPL franchise with the auction for the 10th season also slated for the first week of February. “I am looking forward to playing in the IPL. I have prepared well, especially when it comes to T20, I have more number of shots [now]. So probably I will play in domestic T20 tournaments. If I play well, surely there will be an opportunity.

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“I just will have to keep playing other formats and keep scoring runs and probably I will have to wait for my opportunity. I am improving, playing more shots and playing with a higher strike rate. So probably that’s [stamped as a Test specialist] just the tag, a perception that will change with time to come,” he remarked.

He was always considered to a composed batsman who gave stability to the line-up and someone who would stand in resilient with his resistance when the going is against the team. But in the recent past with a few action-filled knocks in day’s cricket and T20 Pujara has shown his appetite for the shortest format of the game as well.

In his IPL career the Saurashtra batsman has featured in 30 matches for Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab and has managed just 390 runs with an average of 20.52 which is less than half of his Test average and has just one half century to his credit.