Be it international cricket or a club level game, teams can rely on Cheteshwar Pujara to bail them out from difficult situations.
After having dominated in Australia, Pujara showed no let up in his intensity while making his debut in the TNCA first division league for Mylapore Recreation Club ‘A’. He walked into bat in just the fourth ball of the innings and slammed a brilliant century (163, 232b, 18x4, 1x6) conducting a masterclass to league cricketers here on how to play on a turner.
After the day’s play, the 31-year-old spoke to reporters.
Quick thoughts on your dream run in Australia and today's game?
I have been batting well this season. 2018 and '19 have been fantastic, especially the Australia series which was very important. Personally I gained a lot of confidence. After that, I have realised my game even better and it was just a matter of time.
I have been scoring runs but there was a phase when I didn’t score a lot of runs in Test cricket. But the last two years have been good so far and I will like to continue from where I left. I was playing some matches for Saurashtra in Syed Mushtaq Ali and scored runs there.
Things are changing. I am scoring in shorter-format also (smiles) .
What brings you here?
Basically for some match practice and be in touch with the game. Ashwin said it was an important match for us so I thought I will come. When you are playing good cricket, you need to play an odd match and then take a few steps forward.
Do you feel you are at the peak of your career?
My peak is yet to come. I am batting well and enjoying my game. But there have been instances where I have played some exceptional innings in domestic cricket and I want to do that in international cricket as well.
Australia was one example but going forward I will like to continue to do that wherever we play Test cricket.
Your thoughts on the local league?
I have been hearing things about Chennai league from players from Saurashtra and few others. Before an international match or first class season, sometimes you need match practice so this is the right platform for some games.
This gives a chance to be in touch with the game. If you are trying something in the nets and want to execute such things in a game, this is the right platform to execute those things especially if you are playing for India.
Do you feel hurt when people brand you as a Test cricketer?
Sometimes it is difficult to accept things but I am someone who moves on. I am not worried about what people think.
Perceptions are changing now and people are beginning to notice that I can do well in the shorter formats now that I have scored runs in T20s. If I can repeat such performances, I can be a good T20 player.
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