India’s new batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara has been absolutely outstanding in the past one year for the team as he amassed loads of runs. He has been India’s prolific run-getter in Test cricket and one of the premier architect of taking India to the No.1 Test ranking. He is also the highest ranked Indian batsman in ICC Test batsmen’s rankings, occupying the 4th spot.
The talent was always there but somehow, he was not able to be consistent in the long run and hence, he was dropped from the side a couple of years back. But a stint with Nottinghamshire in the English County Championship did wonders to his game and now he is India’s best batsman in the longest format of the game.
Cheteshwar Pujara believes County cricket can be extremely beneficial for a player to be successful in overseas conditions. He said experiencing surfaces that have bounce and seam is the essence of County cricket.
“Playing county cricket is about being in that environment and batting on those wickets which seam and have a bit of bounce. It’s all about getting the experience and nothing related to your technique. Once you reach a certain point (in your career), your technique is very much decided and all you need to do is fine-tune it,” said Pujara as quoted by Times of India.
Pujara was the first one amongst the current bunch of Indian cricketers to head to play in England and recently, Ravichandran Ashwin is also set to join Worcestershire for the leg of the Championship. Virat Kohli has also expressed his wish to play in England and Ravindra Jadeja also might join a County team soon.
“If you start playing county cricket, you start having an idea about how to perform in those conditions. I believe county cricket helps you grow as a cricketer. I feel if you want to play Test cricket and aim to do well in different venues, county cricket is the way to go,” the 29-year-old added.
The right-hander was clinical in India’s recent 3-0 Test series win over Sri Lanka where he scored 309 runs in 4 innings that included 2 centuries. But he believes it was the team effort that made the victory possible
“If you look at our batting, each one has stood up and made themselves counted. Also, this Indian team’s bench strength is quite strong. Whoever has come into the XI has gone on to make a contribution. Players such as Kuldeep Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Karun Nair and even Abhinav Mukund have all performed when given opportunities. Even our fast bowlers Umesh and Shami have been bowling well,” he added.
Ravi Shastri gives freedom
Pujara had a word of praise for the newly appointed head coach of India Ravi Shastri as well. ““Ravi bhai is someone who gives players enough freedom and at the same time knows what is needed for the players to be in the best possible shape ahead of any game. He makes players feel welcome and players understand their roles in the side,” he said.