Cheteshwar Pujara has claimed that his habit of putting up big numbers has forced people to expect a lot more from him and also admitted that it is difficult to always fulfill that. The Saurashtra player has stated that he always accepts his failures which helped him learn many things from it.
In the early stage of his international career, Pujara was considered as the "next Rahul Dravid" for Team India because of his ability to bat for rather long hours and scoring massive amounts of runs. He also stood by that faith scoring a lot of runs on the spinner-friendly wickets, but somehow failed to replicate the scores on foreign soils e.g - South Africa, England, and Australia. After a fantastic run in the Sri Lanka tour earlier this year, Pujara traveled to England to play county cricket where he failed to show his charm.
“Sometimes, people expect a lot out of me because I have the habit of scoring big runs. The expectation is that I should score a hundred every second or third innings. It is difficult to always fulfill that,” Pujara told DNA.
In the Ranji Trophy, Pujara managed only 35 and 13 runs in his first two innings, but, ahead of the home Test series against Sri Lanka, the 29-year-old has been able to find his groove by scoring his 12th double-hundred in domestic cricket. He followed that up with
“The moment I start scoring big runs, as a batsman, my rhythm comes back and my concentration improves. Everything looks good. I feel good when I start scoring big runs. So, it is a perfect start before I head into the Sri Lankan series,” Pujara said.
Pujara is one of the core members of the Indian Test squad and he stated that his low scores before his back-to-back centuries were not due to a lack of form.
“The thing was I was playing on some tough pitches in England when it comes to county cricket. All the matches were on challenging pitches and most of the games were low-scoring ones. I accepted my failures and I did learn so many things out of it. It wasn’t that I was going through a bad phase or that I wasn’t timing the ball well. It was just a time where I had to stay patient. I was playing on tough pitches and if I get a good ball, just accept it and learn new things, what are the things I can still improve on and then start scoring runs again," Pujara said.
“When I came back to India, in the first game, I had a little bit of jet lag but I was batting well and got a good start and got out playing a bad shot for 35 (against Haryana). Even in the next game (against Jammu & Kashmir), I looked in good touch but I made a mistake and got out (for 13). So, overall I knew I was batting well,” the right-hand batsman said.
The gap between the end of the Sri Lanka series and the start of the tour of South Africa is short. Following a lengthy series comprising three Tests and as many ODIs and T20Is that starts on November 16, India will tour South Africa for three Tests, six ODIs, and three T20I in January next year. India will play their last match at home on December 24 and the Cape Town Test will begin on January 5 next year. In that short span, Indian players will have to make them comfortable in a completely different condition to perform well on the bouncy pitches.