It will be challenging for Australia in India: Cheteshwar Pujara

It will be challenging for Australia in India: Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara
Indian cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

India’s Test No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara who is one of the most reliable batsmen in the team and among the best batting at that position in the world isn’t satisfied with the Test specialist’s tag. He wants to diversify as a player and to play the shorter formats as well. He recently led the Rest of India team to the Irani Cup title against Ranji champs Gujarat and termed it “a perfect practice match for the next half of the 13 Test-match season in India.”

He scored a century, wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha scored his maiden double ton and led the team to a win from a position where Gujarat completely dominated the proceedings. In an exclusive chat with India Today Pujara said, “Yes. It was a very good practice match for me, the Irani trophy. It was an ideal match to play well and contribute for team’s success. My partnership with (Wriddhiman) Saha was crucial. It was a very good platform to prepare for five Tests coming up against Bangladesh and Australia.

After being overlooked for a Test match in West Indies the Saurashtra batsman has sealed the No. 3 slot for himself with some exceptional knocks. “I have been batting well. Especially at No.3. I wouldn’t say it’s my spot but this is where I have scored all my runs. That’s where I have succeeded in domestic cricket and now internationally. So very happy to play at No.3. As a team also we have played some really good cricket in 2016. We want to maintain that.” Pujara said.

The Aussies haven’t quite been in the best of forms but a team from down under can never be underestimated and the No.1 Test team in the world wouldn’t want to get complacent. “You can’t underestimate Australia. They play well at home and we do have an advantage here. But they always come up with some plan. So we will have the counter those.”

Also read- Wriddhiman Saha acknowledges Virender Sehwag for his double ton in Irani Cup

Under Virat Kohli, the Indian team has the motto of giving back healthy and heavy. When asked about their preparations as far as sledging is concerned Pujara said, “Yes it will be challenging for Australia in India. If they sledge..I remember we had a plan to sledge them when we last went to Australia. It will be tough for them when they come here. We will decide that in the team meetings (who will be the leader of the sledging unit for the team). Look it’s all about winning the game and sledging is a part of that.” He explained.

Eight of the 13 Tests of the big home season are done and the Indian team has won 7 matches with the first Test against England ending in a draw. With five more matches to be played this season, Pujara said that the team being the No.1 in the rankings is aiming to remain unbeaten. “That’s what the plan is. We do discuss. We are No.1 team today but it’s important to maintain that. Try to keep winning matches and series. All of us are motivated that we will continue the form of last year.” He concluded saying.