He may not be part of the Indian team currently but Cheteshwar Pujara doesn’t want to be away from cricket. He has said that if given a chance, he will like to play county cricket once again as he enjoyed his previous stints in England county.
“It was great to be associated with Nottinghamshire. I enjoyed playing on wickets in England in challenging conditions. Facing fast bowlers/seamers there is a different experience when compared to playing in India. I am happy that I was able to cope well and score runs,” Pujara said.
“I would love to play in the English County season again, if and when the chance comes. During the county stint, I got to spend time with English players Stuart Broad and Samit Patel (who both play for Nottinghamshire) and former England coach Peter Moores. I discussed playing on different kinds of pitches and learnt about life on the county circuit,” Pujara said.
Pujara had scored 233 runs from five innings for Nottinghamshire which was his third county stint. He had earlier played with Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
India are currently in West Indies for a five match one-day international series. They also play one-off T20 international. India will then travel to Sri Lanka for a long tour.
Pujara recalled India’s previous tour to Sri Lanka in which the team won the series 2-1. After a loss in a thrilling first Test, India won next to games and Pujara’s century was one of the highlights of the final Test.
“That century was in 2015 against Lanka was a career- defining one for me. I was under pressure and had been struggling for form. It was a difficult phase but I always believed in my abilities. I felt happy to score when the team needed it the most,” he said.
Pujara was warming the bench and was included only in the final Test after injuries to Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay. He scored 145 runs in the first innings. In the 2016-17 season, he scored 1316 runs in 13 Tests at an average of 62.66.
“It was a matter of proving my critics wrong. I had worked hard and the results were evident. I was relieved to get the runs in tough conditions,” he added.
Pujara has made the number three spot in Tests his own and become India’s new “Mr Dependable” after the retirement of Rahul Dravid.
“He (Dravid) is a humble person. He has always been a great help. Whenever I have approached him for advice, he has been forthcoming. Once when I was not in the best of form, I reached out to him and after watching me bat in the nets for some time, said there was nothing wrong with my technique,” Pujara said.