Cheteshwar Pujara has credited the improvements in his technique and temperament to the time he spent playing County cricket in England. Pujara, who was part of the Yorkshire side that won the championship in 2015, is however undecided if he should play there again ahead of the Windies tour.
For long, India have sought after a permanent replacement to Rahul Dravid at no.3 in Test cricket. Although Pujara did well right from the get go, those performances were on home soil. Going away, especially when India tour the likes of South Africa, England or Australia, the performances dipped.
This is when Pujara, now 30, decided to spend time in the English County circuit. He joined Yorkshire, as Pakistani Younis Khan’s replacement in April 2015. In four matches, he notched up 264 runs at an average of 53.98, as Yorkshire went on to win the County Championship that year. Four years down the line, the India no.3 is thankful for the time he spent toiling on English soil.
"It has helped me better my game in different conditions. When you are facing a fast bowler or a medium pacer (in England), the ball tends to seam through the day, so it helps me work on my technique and temperament," Pujara told Sportstar on Thursday.
However, Pujara, third Indian cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh to have played for the Yorkshire club, is yet to decide if he will play for Yorkshire again, ahead of India’s tour of the West Indies, starting on August 3.
"At this stage, I still don't know if I'll go. There's time before we leave for the Caribbean," Pujara said.
India will kickstart their World Test Championship 2019-2021 campaign with two Tests: Guyana Antigua (August 22 to 26) and Jamaica (August 30 to September 3). The Men in Blue will also play 3 T20Is, 3 one-day internationals and 2 Tests in the month-long tour
The positive effects of Pujara’s time in England proved invaluable when India toured England in 2018, and Australia, later in the same year. His abilities were at the forefront of the pundits’ praises after India's landmark 2-1 series win in Australia last year. He amassed 521 runs, including three hundreds.
The Indian no.3 then returned to India to guide his Ranji team Saurashtra to the final, scoring an unbeaten 131 against Karnataka in the semi finals. Although Saurashtra lost the finals to Vidarbha, Pujara is positive about Saurashtra's progress in the upcoming domestic season.
"We have to try and replicate our form going forward. We have found some young players and it's important that they practise well during the off-season," he added.
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