India Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara on Saturday said winning the ICC Test Championship will be a much bigger achievement than claiming an ODI or T20 World Cup title.
India have secured 360 points from the first seven Tests to stay on course to reach the finals of the inaugural World Test Championship.
“… when you become Test champions, I would say it is more than winning an ODI or a T20 World Cup. The reason is, this format is the ultimate format,” Pujara, who last played a limited-overs match for India in 2014, said during the latest episode of ‘Inspiration’ on India Today.
“If you ask any great cricket player from the past, even the present cricketers, they would say that Test cricket is the most challenging format of this game. And when you become world champion of Test cricket, there is nothing like it.”
India had started the ICC World Test Championships with a 2-0 win over the West Indies, before blanking South Africa and Bangladesh 3-0 and 2-0 respectively at home.
Virat Kohli’s men will now take on New Zealand in a two-match Test series beginning on February 21 in Wellington.
“Most of the teams have done well in their home conditions but when they go away, they are always challenged. Especially about the Indian team, we have managed to do well overseas. We have now started winning series overseas,” said the 32-year-old right-handed batsman.
“So, that is the biggest advantage this Indian team has now. Talking about the Test championship, any team who gets into the final, they have to work really hard for over a period of two years and they have to win not just at home but also they have to start winning away from home.”
Pujara also hailed ICC’s decision to introduce World Test Championship, saying it has made the traditional format of the game more competitive.
“To sustain Test cricket, ICC had to come up with something and all the cricket playing nations have to think about Test cricket. To sustain Test cricket, I think this is one of the best platforms players can ask for. And there is something to play for in each and every Test match. You won’t see many draws now,” he said.
“So going forward, most of the Test matches will produce results. At the same time, even the opposition side, if they manage to play a draw, they will still get some points. Overall I think we’ll see a lot of competitive cricket at Test level. But going forward, I think we still have to do a few more things for the Test format to survive.”
Talking about criticisms directed against him, Pujara said: “Fortunately my family is very positive and not many things affect me. I do understand when they pass any opinion.
“I respect it if it is a critical part of my game. Sometimes if you take critics positively, you learn many things, so I never take criticism in a negative way, it gives me a positive vibe, which allows me to work on my game.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines