Cheteshwar Pujara, who performed really well during the Sri Lanka tour earlier this year, stated that runs never come easy in the longer format. Pujara also believes that the upcoming Sri Lanka series will give him a good opportunity to prepare for the challenging South Africa series.
India toured Sri Lanka earlier this year and returned after registering a 9-0 whitewash which includes three Test victory. Pujara was one of the better performers on that tour where he scored brilliant knocks of 153 and 133 runs in the first two Tests at Galle and Colombo, respectively. He handled the Sri Lankan bowlers quite comfortably then but doesn’t want to be over-confident ahead of the upcoming series.
"I agree that during the last series, Sri Lanka's bowling attack may not have been one of the best but Test runs never come easy. You have to fight for every run that you score in the longer format,” Pujara told PTI.
"Also every series is a new series. Your intensity does not change according to the opposition you play. Sri Lanka is also an international side and you have to give them the same respect like any other team.
Following a lengthy series comprising of three Tests and as many ODIs and T20Is that starts on November 16, India will tour South Africa next for three Tests, six ODIs, and three T20I in January next year. And Pujara feels that the upcoming Sri Lanka series provide some ideal preparations ahead of the tough assignment in South Africa.
"Obviously, next year's South Africa series is something that is there at the back of my mind. The upcoming Sri Lanka series will be a good opportunity to prepare for the South Africa assignment. I am confident of doing well," the right-hand batsman said.
"The main preparation will certainly start closer to the series. But I believe once we assemble to play the Test series against Sri Lanka, there will be some serious discussions on the South African tour. There will be strategies and plans in place."
Indian team performed outstandingly in their home season and experts claimed that the team will face the real test in South Africa where they have to play on the bouncy pitches. The 29-year-old, who has scored 4107 runs in 51 Tests with 13 hundred claimed that he will work on few areas before the tour.
"Like every series, I will be doing my own homework. There are a few areas that I will like to work in the nets before the series. Those are very specific things but it will be unfair to reveal them as that's a part of the strategy."
Of late, Pujara has faced a down phase in first-class cricket as in nine successive innings, he failed to score a half-century. But he doesn't bother much about it. "I always knew that a big
Against Jharkhand, he scored 204 which made him the Indian batsman with the most number of double hundreds (12) in first-class cricket as he surpassed the legendary late Vijay Merchant (11).
"Actually, I didn't know about the record while I was batting. I only came to know about it once second day's play was over. I got a few text messages and came to know that it was a national record. It was a good feeling indeed knowing that there are some great players on that list."
Pujara has been a pillar of the Test squad as he gave the batting order much-needed support.
"Each and every batsman has his own distinct style of batsmanship. It's of no use trying to copy anyone else. Each and every player has his own strengths and builds his game accordingly," Pujara replied when asked about to copy Kohli’s aggressive batting style.