On the eve of India's second Test against West Indies, Cheteshwar Pujara announced the Indian cricket team's intent to become the No.1 Test team in the world. The stylish batsman also expressed hope that India complete a 4-0 whitewash in the series as a first step towards that goal.
Pujara played an under-rated role in India's innings-win in the first Test –he was beside Shikhar Dhawan as the two negotiated the initial storm from the West Indies when the conditions favored the pacers. Pujara, however, got out after getting set and missed out on earning the fruits of his hard-earned labor.
Speaking about his dismissal in the Test, Pujara blamed his shot selection for the dismissal. “I think it wasn't the right shot selection. It wasn't the right ball to pull,” he said in an interview to bcci.tv.
The batsman, however, looked upbeat about the next Test that will be played out in Jamaica. “I haven't played a game here, but looking at the wicket at present it is difficult to predict what sort of pitch we will get here. Overall, as a team, we have been playing good cricket and that is what we will look to do. We won't worry too much about the wicket and I think if we play to our potential there is a good chance of winning the series,” he said.
Pujara is slowly becoming an integral part of the Test team, and the batsman expressed confidence that India will win the task at hand – the West Indies series. Given the strength of the opposition, it appears an easy task, but the visitors are not willing to let down their guard. Pujara said, “The first aim is to win the series and obviously we would like to win all the Test matches. But one Test match at a time and we will be focussing on winning this Test. We have a positive environment and all the guys are charged up for this test match.”
The long-term aim for the team from now on would be attaining the No.1 spot in Tests in the world, said Pujara. “We have a simple goal, we want to win it. So, that's the target currently, starting from the second Test, but the goal is to win the series. Going ahead we want to be the No.1 test team in the world,” he revealed.
Speaking about his own batting, Pujara has not been in the best form even in the warm-up matches getting out for 28 and 34 runs. “Things remain very simple. I always have to contribute and play with responsibility. And I have been doing that and keep working hard on my game as I have been. And I don't think I need to really worry much about the kind of performances I have put on or what everyone is saying.
"I have spoken to him [Anil Kumble], he told me about a few things which obviously I cannot disclose here. He has been very positive with the way I have batted in the past and contributions I have made. And he is very happy with the way I have been batting,” he said.
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