Recently, India’s ever dependable batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said that he was not too pleased when people dismissed him off as just a “test specialist”. Pujara had admitted that he had the potential to excel in all the formats. The solid batsman has backed his words with actions, as he has been scoring heavily in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
In a recent interview with Cricbuzz, Pujara opened up about his ambition to succeed in the IPL. Below, are the excerpts from his interview.
You have come back strongly into the Test side. How has that experience been?
Overall, the way I made my comeback starting from the Sri Lanka series and then moving on into the South Africa series, I’m really satisfied with the way things have gone. I have always worked hard on my game and even now, the kind of form I’m in the shorter versions of the game, I’m happy with the way things are shaping up overall, it is good.
With the upcoming IPL auction and the probable to be picked for World T20, how important is Syed Mushtaq Ali for you?
It is really important. If you see, all the franchises are looking at this tournament, having a keen look at how the guys are performing and they are planning their auction strategy accordingly. This tournament is really important for all the players who wants to be part of the IPL. They can prove their form and prove their talent through this tournament. As far as I know, BCCI conducted this tournament before the IPL auction so that the franchises also can have a good look at the players.
You have been doing well in the domestic limited-overs competitions. Has anything changed in your approach to limited-overs cricket?
It’s about getting to know your strengths and I worked on a few shots, which is helping me. I worked on my game where now I know when to accelerate and how to accelerate. So there are some shots on which I have worked and I can play those shots even in the game, so it’s allowing me to score runs at a better strike rate. If you look at the first two T20s (Syed Mushtaq Ali) my strike rate was somewhere around 150 or even more, which is really good. That is what is really satisfying for me. And I’ll keep working on my game, there is no limit for improvement. I’d like to continue scoring the same way and I’d like to continue adding some shots to my game, which will help me perform even better.
There is a perception that you have a weakness against spin, especially off-spin. Is that the case and why so?
No, I wouldn’t agree on it. Especially on a turning wicket, you are bound to get out against the spinners. Recently in the South Africa series, I got out against the off-spinners as well as the left-arm spinner, fast bowlers, right-arm leg-spinner, so I would not agree that I am vulnerable to off-spin. The way I handle off-spinners, the way I handle spinners, I think I am capable enough of playing against any spinner in the world. So I won’t agree on it.