India’s rock-solid batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has admitted that the toughest time of his cricketing career was to make a comeback after suffering his first injury. He also recalled how he could not handle pressure at a very young age but insisted that he has now learnt how to handle it with ease.
Cheteshwar Pujara made his first real impact in an Indian jersey in the 2006 U-19 World Cup, where he opened the innings. Not only was he the top-run scorer in the tournament, with 349 runs in six innings, scoring three fifties and a century, but he was also the Man of the tournament. Four years after his first impact, the Saurashtra batsman earned a call-up to the Test side, against Australia.
Since then, there has been no looking back for the right-hander, who has amassed 6,244 runs in his Test career, averaging 46.59 while sealing his place in the Indian side. Looking back at the start of his career, Pujara admitted that making a comeback after his first injury was perhaps the toughest time of his cricketing career.
“When I had my first injury, to come back from it was the toughest time of my cricketing career. The moment our team physio came to and spoke to me that the recovery will be about six months. So, I was so upset, I started crying. I was in a negative mindset at that time. ‘Will I be able to play this game again? Will I be able to play at the international level again?” Pujara said in a YouTube interview on 'Mind Matters'.
“Once you are in a negative zone, everything around you become negative. I do yoga and try meditation, I do my prayers every day which helps me to remain in a positive mindset,” he added.
Despite impressing the selectors on his first tour, Pujara opened up that he didn’t know how to handle pressure situations, adding that he would cry out of nervousness. However, the Saurashtra batsman insisted that over the years, he has learnt how to handle pressure, playing for India.
“There was a time when I felt I cannot handle the pressure. When I had issues in my younger days, I used to go to my mother and cried in front of her saying that I had a lot of pressure and nervousness and I don't to want play cricket. But now I know how to handle the pressure,” he concluded.