Ahead of the second Test against West Indies, which starts on Saturday (July 30), Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has revealed that new head coach Anil Kumble is happy with the former’s batting. After making an impressive debut, Pujara was dropped from the team following a string of failures with the bat. Now back in the team, the Saurashtra batsman has said that he is working hard as ever to contribute as much as he can for the team. In an interaction with the media, the right-handed batsman spoke on different topics ranging from taking tips from the coach, to the team’s future goal and much more.
On the pitch:
I haven’t played a game here, but looking at the wicket at present it is difficult to predict what sort of pitch we will get here. Overall, as a team, we have been playing good cricket and that is what we will look to do. We won’t worry too much about the wicket and I think if we play to our potential there is a good chance of winning the series.
On whether failure to convert good starts into big scores bother him:
Not worried, overall I have been batting well. Even in South Africa series, there have been good scores and good batting on challenging wickets. So, at times you have to be realistic and see the contribution without seeing whether I am getting hundreds or big double hundreds. It’s always about contributing to the team’s success. I feel I am batting well without worrying too much about it and at the same time I realised I played a bad shot in the last Test match when I was looking good. I did the hard work in the first session when the ball was moving. Obviously, I played a bad shot and there are things to learn from that particular game. Overall the team did well and I am really happy with the way things are going.
On whether the team will prepare differently if there is grass on the pitch:
I don’t think so. If we see the first Test there was good pace and bounce from the wicket. And we did well. We just need to continue doing what we have been doing well. There have been many partnerships from the last game. In particular, Ashwin batted well and Mishra did well so even the top-order is doing well and there are contributions from the lower-order, which is a positive sign from the team.
On team’s goals:
The first aim is to win the series and obviously, we would like to win all the Test matches. But one Test match at a time and we will be focussing on winning this Test. We have a positive environment and all the guys are charged up for this test match.
On new West Indies fast bowler – Alzarri Joseph:
From what I have heard he has done well in the U19 world cup. Obviously, I haven’t seen him bowl, I don’t know whether he will be in final eleven. But we will have to figure out. He is a new guy and I think he is talented so we will be doing some video analysis about his bowling.
On fielding in the slip cordon:
When you are fielding in slips it is important to take as many catches as possible. When you are practicing at the same time you need to know your partners well because when you are fielding at first or second slip you need to have the right distance in between. It is always about communicating and once you have the right judgement and you have taken the right number of catches you learn many things. Distance is the most important thing.
On whether he has consulted Anil Kumble about batting:
Things remain very simple. I always have to contribute and play with responsibility. And I have been doing that and keep working hard on my game as I have been. And I don’t think I need to really worry much about the kind of performances I have put on or what everyone is saying.
I have spoken to him, he told me about a few things which obviously I cannot disclose here. He has been very positive with the way I have batted in the past and contributions I have made. And he is very happy with the way I have been batting.
On whether the mood in the dressing room has improved:
This environment was good in the dressing room previously as well. When the team doesn’t do well, people feel that the dressing room is not good. Previously too, the environment was good, it is good now as well. The good thing is that all of us are young players and we have known each other very well. We have played a lot of cricket together starting from Under 19 to India A, and there are quite a few team bonding sessions where we get to know each other better. So, it is a good activity where we spend the time to understand each others’ perspectives.
On the team’s goal in this series:
We have a simple goal, we want to win it. So, that’s the target currently, starting from the second Test, but the goal is to win the series. Going ahead we want to be the No.1 test team in the world.