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Back in sunshine, Pujara looks to make hay

cricket Updated: Feb 28, 2012 01:11 IST
S Dipak Ragav
S Dipak Ragav
Hindustan Times
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With India’s big three on the final leg of their careers, all eyes are on the next generation. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman may not continue for long and the obvious question is who will fill their shoes.

One of the promising candidates marked out as a replacement for one of them is Cheteshwar Pujara.

And the right-handed batsman feels he is ready to handle the pressure. “I have been part of the Indian team for sometime and have had a chance to share the dressing room with legends like Tendulkar and Dravid. I also played with Sourav Ganguly at the Kolkata Knight Riders. I have got some tips and I am working on them,” said Pujara, who on Monday signed up with sports management firm World Sports Group, which also manages Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir.

Pujara is known for his sound technique and for this reason, he has often been termed the right replacement for Dravid.

On his Test debut against Australia in Bangalore in 2012, Pujara was impressive, scoring 72 runs during a difficult chase in the fourth innings.

Injured and out

He has since then played only two Tests as injuries forced him out of the national team.

He recovered late last year and turned out for Saurashtra in Ranji Trophy before leading west Zone in Duleep Trophy. Although he couldn’t get very big scores, he says he has recovered completely and is eyeing a comeback.

‘A’ Tours

Pujara lauded BCCI’s decision to have more India A tours overseas and felt that these tours can help players get used to foreign conditions early in their careers. He attributes his success against Australia to one such tour. “One of the reasons I got selected for India was because I performed well in England with the India A,” said Pujara.

Pujara also spoke of former India coach Gary Kirsten’s role and hailed him as one of the best coaches he has worked with. “I spent some time with Gary Kirsten and he gave me lot of tips which have helped me.”