India’s Test No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara does not have an Indian Premier League contract, but when one door closes another opens. Pujara who is ‘sad’ that he was not considered by any of the eight IPL teams during the auction held in February will head to Yorkshire to become only the second Indian player after Sachin Tendulkar to represent the county.
In Pujara’s case the opportunity to play in England presented itself on two occasions and after letting the first one go in the hope that he would get an IPL contract, the batsman latched onto the second.
“Derbyshire had asked me a few months ago whether I was interested in playing for them. But I had said ‘no’ because I was hoping to play in the IPL. Sadly, I didn’t get picked in the IPL auction. Luckily for me, there was an opportunity to play for Yorkshire. I am thankful to the BCCI for allowing me to take part because if I didn’t get a county contract, I would have had no games to play in the immediate future,” Pujara told The Indian Express.
Pujara had played for Derbyshire after India’s tour of England, a series the visitors lost 1-3. Pujara had a below-par tour with just a single half-century in five Test innings.
“County cricket teaches you so many things. I have experienced it during my last visit to Derbyshire. They are true professionals. Yorkshire are the champions so I know for a fact that the coming two months will be a learning experience for me. I know that the conditions will be tough. The ball will move a lot and it will be cold. I won’t be getting any easy deliveries. For me, adapting to the condition will be the key. If I do well in England, then it will be a much-needed confidence boost for me,” Pujara added.
The Saurashtra batsman has now gone 22 innings without a Test hundred, including during the tough tours of England and Australia.
“I had average tours (of England and Australia). But I feel I am learning everyday. I can’t change my past but I can try and build a good future. It was not that I wasn’t getting starts but I just couldn’t convert those runs into big scores. Had I managed to convert those scores, things could have been different now. I have always believed in hardwork. I am like a child who is not talented but I know I can excel through hard work. I hope this county stint will be a memorable one,” Pujara added.
Pujara will replace Pakistan’s Younis Khan, who will be on tour to Bangladesh.