Cheteshwar Pujara admitted that New Zealand has an obvious advantage going into the all-important WTC Final. But he also insisted that the Virat Kohli-led Indian team isn’t worried about the same.
The stage is set for an epic World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand which kicks off on June 18th at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. While Team India will be entering the contest after a lengthy break due to IPL getting canceled midway, the Kiwis will enter the contest after having played two Tests against England.
Cheteshwar Pujara: New Zealand Will Have An Advantage Having Played Two Test Matches Prior To The WTC Final
India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, while speaking to bcci.tv admitted that New Zealand has an obvious advantage going into the match. But he also insisted that the Virat Kohli-led Indian team isn’t worried about the same as India will play an intrasquad 4-day practice game and try and focus on the 10-12 days the team has for preparing and planning against the opponents.
“They will obviously have an advantage having played two Test matches before the final but when it comes to the final we will give our best and we know that our team has the potential to do well and win the championship,” Pujara told bcci.tv, according to news agency PTI.
“So we are not worried about that, we will try and focus on these 10 to 12 days which we have for preparation. We are also going to play a practice game and we will try and make the most of what we have. If we utilise these days well, I feel that our team will be up for the final,” Cheteshwar Pujara said.
The middle-order batsman from Saurashtra said more than anything, adjusting to the fickle England weather is a big challenge for the players.
“Playing in different conditions in a single day here is the most challenging part for a batsman because if it rains you go off the field and then suddenly it stops raining and you start again. So there are breaks in between and this is where you need to understand and accept the challenge. Mentally you have to be strong, your concentration needs to be up to the mark,” he added.
Cheteshwar Pujara admitted that New Zealand has an obvious advantage in the WTC Final having played and won the 2 Tests against England. Tom Latham led the New Zealand team to a memorable 1-0 Test series triumph in the two-match series against hosts England, in the absence of injured Kane Williamson, which is their first in the UK since 1999.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Winning The Final Will Mean Lot To Indian Team And The Team Has Worked Hard For 2 Years To Reach The Final
Cheteshwar Pujara, who has scored 6244 runs in 85 Tests, said reaching the WTC final is a special achievement for the Indian team. Against Australia, in 2020-21, Cheteshwar Pujara scored 271 runs in 4 matches at an average of 33.87. As he played at a strike rate of 29.20, his intent was under heavy scrutiny.
“Personally it means a lot to me because I am playing this one format and this is the most challenging format in cricket. We have worked really hard as a team for a period of time to reach here. So, I am sure all the guys are looking forward to the final and winning this final will mean a lot to us.
“But even to reach the final the team has worked really hard for two years. Playing cricket during the pandemic has been challenging and the guys have been excellent the way we have managed things. I think we have come close enough because of the time spent together in the bubble,” he signed off.
Ishant Sharma(3/36) and Rishabh Pant have been some of the best performers in the ongoing India intra-squad practice match in Southampton before the WTC final. Openers Shubman Gill (85 off 135 balls) and Rishabh Pant (121* off 94 balls) shone with the bat.
Ravindra Jadeja scored an unbeaten 54 off 76 balls in India’s intra-squad practice match at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. With the ball, Mohammed Siraj impressed with figures of 2/22 on the third day of the four-day practice match.