While catching a flight to England a few weeks ago,Cheteshwar Pujara met people at the airport who had a common query. They asked Indias middle-order batsman whether he was going early to gain practice ahead of the Test series that begins on July 21.
Pujara wishes he could have replied in the affirmative. But he was on the way to consult a surgeon about a right-knee injury. The injury wasnt painful but the surgeon in London,Andrew Wallace,advised him surgery.
Pujara made his debut against Australia at Bangalore in October and played two Tests in South Africa too. He injured his knee while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
He wasnt available for the tour of the West Indies and before the senior selection committee picked the squad for the Test series in England,was advised by doctors at the National Cricket Academy to consult Williams. It will now take four months for Pujara to get back to action.
The last time I injured my left knee during IPL-II there was a lot of pain. This time there was no pain at all and doctors believed I could get fit for the tour of England. But I was asked to consult Dr Williams who advised me to undergo surgery, Pujara told The Indian Express from Bangalore,where he is undergoing rehabilitation at the NCA.
Pujara doesnt want to blame his predicament on bad luck. He has reconciled to the fact that injuries are going to remain a part of his career.
I was a little disappointed initially but there is nothing I can do. In London,before undergoing surgery,I thought I will be back soon. Every human being goes through different phases of life. This is a bad phase for me. Perhaps a good one will follow soon, he said.
Pujaras routine now takes him from the NCA to his hotel. Before leaving for the West Indies,Rahul Dravid texted Pujara. The gist of the message was to keep his chin up. Virender Sehwag was at the NCA too,undergoing rehabilitation for a shoulder injury,and took time out to have a pep talk with Pujara.
The 23-year-old remains calm. He is not worried about fighting for his place,one that he had gained at the expense of Suresh Raina. I dont know what the future holds. Im hopeful of making a comeback, he said. I think I have given my best during the opportunities I have got.