I haven’t got enough opportunities to prove myself in shorter formats: Pujara

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I haven’t got enough opportunities to prove myself in shorter formats: Pujara

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Arun S Kaimal


Even after playing 32 Test matches for India, Cheteshwar Pujara missed out an IPL contract for next season with no team bidding for the batsman, who has been tagged as a ‘Test specialist.’ But Pujara is all set to turn the disappointment into opportunity with another season in county cricket.

Ahead of the Ranji Trophy final between Saurashtra and Mumbai at Pune, Pujara opened up about his IPL disappointment and missing the Indian limited-overs dressing room, in an exclusive interaction to the Hindu. Pujara, who has played five ODIs for the Indian team, believes he is unlucky not to be part of more games with very little opportunities coming his way.

“I think so because I have not got enough opportunities to prove myself in the shorter format of the game. If I have played more number of Tests or four-dayers, and if I perform there, they say I am performing there. But if you see the amount of List A games I have played and the kind of runs I have scored, no one can question that. It is just about not getting the exposure at the international level and probably even in the IPL.

“I can say in the T20s, I have a better idea how to accelerate and what kind of shots I should be playing. I feel sometimes I was unlucky, but I am improving. Age is on my side. And with my game, I can definitely play the shorter format,” Pujara told the Hindu.

The Saurashtra batsman also said that he needs to do a bit extra to change the perception of the selectors, and the fans, of him being a ‘Test specialist’.

“You have to [work] a little extra. With the motivation part, I believe that whenever I play cricket, I don’t need motivation because I love this game; it is my passion. I don’t need anyone else to motivate me if I am not getting enough opportunities because motivation is something that comes from within. With love and passion, I don’t need any extra motivation to play this game.

“But if you play all the formats of the game, it becomes slightly easier because you are playing at the international level. You get those kinds of bowlers to face. Whether it is ODIs or T20s, you are ultimately facing bowlers of high quality and the kind of practice you get with the Indian team, obviously, you cannot match with State teams or anywhere else because the standard is so high. It does make a difference, “the 28-year old said.

The middle-order batsman also talked about missing the Indian dressing room for the ODIs and T20s, and said that being part of that environment helps one in improving. 

Although Pujara also expressed his disappointment at missing out on IPL next season, he is planning to make use of the two-month window with yet another stint in the English county cricket.

“Even during the nets, if you see, someone is a fast bowler who is playing continuously; he might not bowl in all the net sessions. But somewhere down the line, you get to face international bowlers even in the nets. It is useful for those who are part of the IPL squad.

“I am very positive about going back to play county cricket. Nothing has come yet. Once I finish the final, I will take a call. Irani Cup is also there,” Pujara added.

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