Virat Kohli-led Indian team is set to take on South Africa in the first Test of the three-match series starting from January 5 in Cape Town. India’s No 3 Cheteshwar Pujara has insisted that the batsmen should focus more on leaving the delivery keeping the bouncy nature of the pitches in mind. The right-hander further added that the team has been preparing well for the upcoming challenge and the experience that the players are carrying would provide fruitful results.
“It is important to leave the ball well, especially overseas. Once you move out of Asia, there is enough bounce in the pitches and that is the reason one should be able to leave the ball,” said Pujara after a practice session.
“It (the adjustment) is both technical and mental. The good thing is that most of the players have been here before. Personally, I have been here twice (2010-11 and 2013-14). It is about knowing your game, knowing the conditions and you just need to apply yourself.”
“See, when we were playing at home against Sri Lanka, we had the South Africa series in our minds. We had prepared few things even in India. I don’t think we are in any rush, there is plenty of time to prepare,” he said.
“Yes, there will be some bounce and that is always a challenge. But this time we had enough preparation and we would like to back ourselves and try and execute the things which we have done over the past one and a half months,” Pujara added.
Pujara emphasised that scoring runs in South Africa will give invaluable experience.
“I think the experience is most important. You know what to expect from the pitch, what to expect from the opposition. Nothing can match the experience of scoring on such pitches. You know what you want to do as a batsman and even as a team,” said India’s number three.
The tracks in South Africa will provide healthy bounce for the bowlers and Pujara revealed that the team has a plan in place to tackle the same. “Preparation has been fantastic. We have had three net session so far and twice we had two sessions in a day. We are very confident of our chances,” he said.
“We are not bothered about the kind of pitches they will prepare. We will just try to focus on our processes. We have a clear gameplan, if it is a flat wicket or a grassy one,” he added.
The solid right-hander said that the bowling unit gives the visitors advantage in the series. “It is up to South Africa how they want to prepare. It doesn’t matter who plays for them. As a unit we are well prepared. Our pace attack is also much better this time. They are quick. We have that advantage this time,” said Pujara.
“I can mention the Australia Test series at home. Our pacers picked so many wickets even though the pitches were flat. There will be lot of assistance here and I am sure they have made their gameplans by now, ” he said.
India have not fared well in overseas assignments and Pujara sees it as an opportunity to become a dominant force in world cricket.
“Yes, we have that opportunity. If we do well here and in England and Australia. We have a team which can dominate overseas and it will be one of the best teams India have ever had (if we do well in South Africa, England and Australia),” he added.