Cheteshwar Pujara: We want to continue the momentum in 2017

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Cheteshwar Pujara: We want to continue the momentum in 2017

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SportsCafe Desk

01/01/2017

Indian Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has expressed his delight at the wonderful performance of Team India in the year 2016 and hoped to continue in the same vein in 2017. Pujara has also praised Indian Test skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble for their motivation and work ethics.

2016 had truly been a wonderful year for Indian cricket - India regained the No.1 Test status and secured an outstanding win percentage of 67% across all formats of the game.

On a personal front, for Cheteshwar Pujara, it was a pretty good year as well. The batsman, who was going through a patchy phase earlier this year, came back to form in the series against New Zealand, and continued that against England. 

Pujara, in an exclusive chat with The Times of India, said, “Both for me personally, and from Team India's standpoint - the year was just perfect in the way we played each game and executed our plans. My confidence levels are very high at the moment, and I hope to continue in the same vein in the coming year as well. The area that we, as a team, have always strived for is consistency. I would want to remain as consistent as possible and look to score runs each time I go out to bat.”

Stressing on the contribution of coach Anil Kumble, Pujara said, “During the New Zealand Test series, our coach Anil Bhai told me that there was nothing wrong in the way I was batting. He said the area I could improve on was on my intent. Anil Bhai said I had all the shots in the book, and all I needed to do was to play my natural game without worrying much about the strike-rate. He gave me the confidence that I had scored runs in domestic cricket and there was no reason why I can't replicate the success at the international level. He gave me belief and that paid off.

“As a cricketer, who has played the game at the highest level for years, he knows each and every aspect of the game and his inputs are invaluable. He would give insights into the mindset of a bowler and as a batsman, there is a lot to learn. We are a young team and it is great to have someone like him to guide us.”

The Indian batting in the series against New Zealand and England, more often than not, was bolstered by the partnerships between Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. The duo, although their styles of play are completely different to each other, complemented each other beautifully to forge partnerships.

Praising his skipper, the Saurashtra batsman said, “We both share a great rapport and have a very clear communication going on between each other. Virat brings a lot of positive energy to the crease and he looks to dominate from the word go. His positive intent rubs off on other members of the team. The moment he enters the crease, you can sense that the bowlers are under pressure. Virat brings intensity and that's the best thing about him.”

On being asked about the toughest bowler, he had faced in 2016, Pujara said, "I wouldn't want to name any one particular bowler as the toughest I faced this year because international cricket is highly competitive. Be it the ones I faced in West Indies or in the matches I played subsequently, all of them were a challenge and I wouldn't want to single out just one bowler.

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