Far away from the glitz and glamour of the Indian Premier League, India Test team’s batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara is working hard on his batting and his fitness.

A batsman known for his ability to play long innings in Test cricket, Pujara is yet to prove his mettle in the shortest format of the game. He had the chance to showcase his prowess in the five seasons of the Indian Premier League (2010 to 2014) but only 390 runs in 30 matches at a strike-rate of a shade under 101 did not help his cause.

Consequently, he was released by the Kings XI Punjab franchise towards the end of 2014 and failed to find any suitor in the player’s auction before the last edition of the tournament.

He was surely disappointed after the snub but once again put his name in the auctions for the ongoing season and would have surely harboured hopes of playing in the lucrative league after a highly fruitful Test season.

However, this time around the story was no different either, as no team made a bid for him.

But, the calm and composed Pujara has taken the snub in his stride and is making the most of the free time after a hectic home season. He is spending some quality time with his family and friends in addition to working on his game. And in doing all these, he has become so busy that he is not even getting the time to follow the IPL on television.

“It’s either practice or fitness training almost the entire day and it can’t be cricket 24 hours.The switch-off happens in the evenings when I’m with family or friends. That’s why I don’t watch IPL on TV, not because I’m not part of it. I watch occasionally, mostly if someone else is watching,” he told the New Indian Express.

Talking about his performance in the home season that consisted of 13 Tests, Pujara looked content to have contributed to the team’s success before expressing his disappointment over his failure to not convert the starts into big totals.

“It’s fantastic to have contributed to the team’s success, but I thought I gave away my wicket too many times. There were starts that I couldn’t convert. I’ve to improve in this area. I’m known to get big hundreds and have got them since my junior days,” Pujara said.

He further said that getting the respect of his teammates for his performances in the tough series against Australia is much more precious to him than the money.

“Many wanted India to win, the Australia series was tough,” he said. “To have done well in those matches and gained the respect of teammates and oppositions brings about a satisfaction that can’t be matched. The feeling that comes from performing when the team needs you to can’t be compared. I don’t want to talk about how much others are earning or doing. What I’ve earned is precious to me,” the right-handed batter said.

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    An avid sports lover, i always wanted to pursue a career in football. But just like the millions out there i did not put in the hard work needed to achieve my dream and now i have become a fan instead of the player. Anyway, writing for sports has kept me closer to this field. One more thing, yours sincerely is a die-hard Liverpool fan. You will never walk alone.

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