India’s test cricket mainstay batsman Cheseshwar Pujara revealed the fuss he hears about his batting striker rate and claims it is unfair on him. The middle-order batsman also reveals that the Indian cricket team management has time and again shown complete confidence in him as they understand the importance of his style of play. The 32-year old star from Saurashtra was again in the news receiving criticism from social media for his 66 runs in 237 balls he scored during the Ranji Trophy final against Bengal in Rajkot.
Pujara batted his time out in the heat while being sick and uneasy. The player had fever and throat infection during the game which he overlooked and decided to help his side win. Pujara stitched up a game-changing stand with Arpit Vasavada and helped the Jaydev Unadkat led Saurashtra to lift their maiden title.
Whether it is playing for Saurashtra or India, Pujara is used to constant chatter around his strike-rate.
“I don’t think there is too much talk (on the inside). In media, it is described differently but the team management has been backing me on this completely. There is no pressure from the captain, coach or anyone else,” Pujara, who is currently getting much-needed family time due to the COVID-19 outbreak. I just want to clarify that when it comes to strike rate people start pointing towards team management’s take on it but there is no pressure on me at all. The team management understands my style of play and its importance.”
Speaking to the media, Pujara said,
“The question that was asked on social media (during Ranji final) was ‘why am I taking so long to score X number of runs’? Whether I pay attention to that, no, I don’t. My job is to make sure that the team wins at all times.
“People have this tendency to pinpoint one person but it is just not about me. If you look at any Test series where I have scored runs and taken little bit of time, the opposition batsmen, most of them, have consumed same number of balls. I know I can’t be a David Warner or Virender Sehwag but if a normal batsman takes time there is nothing wrong in that.”
The entire batting unit had a tough time in New Zealand with the 0-2 loss in Tests marking the end of the international season. Pujara collected five half centuries this season, including one in New Zealand, but could not add to his 18 hundreds.
“People expect big knocks from me. I always challenge myself to score a 100 but to average close to 50 in Tests means you are scoring a half-century almost every second innings. My standards are always high and I am not satisfied with the season that I had but I would not call it a bad one at all.”
It may be boring and exhausting for the majority of the fans, batting time and wearing out the opposition excites Pujara the most. Asked why they don’t make it like him anymore, Pujara gave a practical response.
“I don’t think it is on the decline (art of batting time). There is value for it. Maybe the youngsters are not inclined towards this format. It is a fact that there are more games in white-ball cricket. A youngster would want to play shorter formats because it is financially better. There is nothing wrong with that but they should understand that real cricket is Test cricket and you will be judged only on the performances in the five-day game.”
Cheteshwar Pujara has no recent re ball cricket playing options available in the near future due to te Corona Outbreak tat has stopped the ongoing County season in the UK. Next up for the Indian star would be the tour to the land down under as the Indian team will take on Australia. Pujara explains that rather than looking behind the mistakes made during the tour in New Zealand, he is looking forward to the new challenge.
On playing Australia the Saurashtra lad said: ” “It is one of the most important series for us. They (Smith and Warner) are important players but if we played the way we played in the last series, we should be able to beat them. Fast bowlers have to be fresh and ready for that series and I am sure their workload will be managed. The best part about the tour is that we recently played in Australia (2018-19). I feel that is the biggest advantage for us.”
The recent Ranji Trophy winner explains the reason why no test team including India is not doing well overseas and performing consistently, citing lack of quality Test cricketers as the reason for the same.
“The importance of limited overs cricket has increased significantly. You are not getting too many quality Test players. Earlier, there was a lot of importance given to a Test series. Players used to take ample rest before that. Now we see so many injuries during the season.
“If you look India, Australia, England, the pool of players will be not more than 20-25 whereas if you talk about 10 years ago, India used to have 30-50 players who were ready for Test cricket. I am not saying there are no players available. But if they are ready for Test cricket or not, that is the question.”