I am ready to bat at any number in Tests: Pujara

Pujara was promoted to open the batting in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo and he made a patient 145 out of a team total of 312 hundred to play a big role in his team’s thumping win by 117 runs that also propelled it to a 2-1 series victory.

Cheteshwar Pujara scored an unbeaten 145 in the third test when India toured Sri Lanka.   -  AP

He might have scored a century as opener in the last Test that India played, but Cheteshwar Pujara today said he was willing to bat at any position he’s asked to by the team’s think-tank in the opening game against South Africa starting November 5 in Mohali.

“I don’t know about the (batting) position. Once I join the team (at Mohali) I will have a word with the captain (Virat Kohli) and coach (Team Director Ravi Shastri) and they will let me know what number they are looking at. Depending on the team’s requirement I will be ready for it,” said Pujara, who will lead Board President’s XI against the visitors in a two-day warm-up game here from tomorrow.

Pujara was promoted to open the batting in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo, in the absence of injured regular openers Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, and he made a patient 145 out of a team total of 312 hundred to play a big role in his team’s thumping win by 117 runs that also propelled it to a 2-1 series victory.

The Saurashtra batsman had lost his place in the playing eleven after the Test series in Australia and did not figure in the first two matches in Sri Lanka before grabbing the chance with both hands when an opportunity came his way.

He said he was experienced in facing the new ball.

“Overall, I have batted at no.3 which, at times, is as good as opening the batting. At (other) times at no. 3 you still get some more time and if there is an (opening) partnership, you can be relax and have a look at the bowlers and the wicket.

“Overall, since I have batted at no. 3, I have the experience of facing the new ball. Technically I don’t have to make major changes in my batting and, in that way, I am comfortable batting up the order.

“Overall my preparations are good. Whatever no I will be asked to bat, I will be ready for it,” he added.

Pujara has not scored too many runs in the three Ranji Trophy games played on rank turners at Rajkot but did not read too much into them.

“Personally, I am very confident. The kind of wickets we have played on, it’s difficult for batters and fast bowlers.

If I have not got big runs, I won’t say I am out of form. They were low-scoring games,” said Pujara who averages close to 50 after 28 Tests, with seven tons to his credit.

“In a way it is a good thing to get turning tracks and you can prepare accordingly, but I would not say that those innings or failures on those wickets will put me under pressure or I will have any problems with my preparations. I know what I will be facing and, with the kind of experience I have, I am confident I will do well.”

Asked about the game against the Proteas, Pujara said it was important personally and from a team’s perspective.

“Personally and as a team it’s really important. Any game featuring Board President’s XI or the A team becomes important before a series starts as it gives confidence, gives you the right kind of preparation before a big series.

“And most importantly, personally speaking, playing against the same bowlers who you will face in the Test series is a good thing.”

Pujara said tomorrow he and Kapoor will talk to the South African think tank and decide whether more than 11 players can be fielded in the match.

“We will have a word with the South African team and see how they want to go about it and then take a call,” he said.

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