Cheteshwar Pujara has said that he was concerned in the past that his Test batting would get affected if he concentrated too much on improving his T20 batting. However, advice from veteran former batting legend and another Test specialist Rahul Dravid helped changed the perception of current India No. 3 of Tests. Rahul Dravid told him that a batsman’s natural game and strengths never go away.
Cheteshwar Pujara will ply his trade for the Chennai Super Kings in the upcoming IPL 2021. The Indian Test specialist last played in the cash-rich league in 2014 for Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings).
Cheteshwar Pujara Was Worried That There Will Be Some Technical Error In Tests Once IPL Gets Over Before Rahul Dravid Advised Him Otherwise
In an interaction with ESPNCricinfo, Cheteshwar Pujara revealed the apprehension he had early on in his career when it came to improving his T20 batting.
“It all comes with experience. When I was playing the T20 format in the past, I had a little bit of a worry that what if I my Test cricket gets spoiled? Then there will be some technical error once the IPL gets over. But now I am over that. What I realised over a period of time is my natural game, my strengths, will never go away.
“This advice I got from Rahul bhai [Dravid] long ago, but I would still like to mention it. He told me that your natural game will not change although you try playing different shots.” Cheteshwar Pujara said.
Elaborating on the same, Cheteshwar Pujara said: “I started playing cricket at an early age. I made my first-class debut in 2005-06. So, it is almost 15 years now where I’ve played this game. So if I am playing the T20 format now, when I prepare for a Test series, I won’t forget Test cricket. Adapting to the T20 format and moving into Test cricket again won’t be an issue, for sure.”
Cheteshwar Pujara’s IPL career at a glance
Cheteshwar Pujara has represented the likes of Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Punjab Kings(formerly Kings XI Punjab) in the IPL. CSK, his fourth franchise, picked up the batsman at his base price of INR 50 lakh in the mini-auction held earlier this year in Chennai on February 18.
The right-hander last batted in the IPL in 2014. A regular in IPL from 2008 to 2014, he had started his IPL career with Kolkata Knight Riders and stayed with them till 2010. He moved to Royal Challengers Bangalore from 2011 to 2013 before being picked up by KXIP in 2014. While he is an automatic selection when it comes to Tests, he has been away from the white-ball limited-overs team too since 2014. He has played only 5 ODIs.
In his last IPL campaign in 2014, Cheteshwar Pujara played six games, scoring 125 runs at an average of 25. However, his strike rate was a paltry 100.8. Overall in his IPL career, the 33-year-old has played 30 games, with a career average and strike rate of 20.53 and 99.74, respectively.
His solitary IPL half-century came against the Kings XI Punjab when he was representing the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2013. He scored 51 off 48 balls. However, RCB lost that encounter.
A senior member of the Test team at present, Cheteshwar Pujara has achieved numerous batting records in the longest Test format. He has played many match-winning knocks and has been one of the star performers in India’s successive Test series wins in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy held in Australia.
Cheteshwar Pujara has played 81 Tests and scored above 6000 runs averaging 47.74. In 5 ODIs, he averages only 10.2 while he also featured in 30 IPL matches to date.