Cheteshwar Pujara back in focus ahead of South Africa Test series

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 30, 2015 17:24 IST
Board President XI Captain Cheteshwar Pujara with teammates practicing in Mumbai on Thursday. (PTI Photo)

Since Virat Kohli took over Test captaincy from MS Dhoni, India have insisted on playing an aggressive brand of cricket. The new-found ‘aggression’ meant Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara suddenly became a misfit for the unit.

The below par show in New Zealand, England and Australia of the batsman who was settling down as the successor to Rahul Dravid at No 3 though didn’t help his cause.

From being termed tailor-made for Tests to becoming expendable, the Saurashtra batsman has had many ups and downs in last oneand-half years. Pujara grabbed the chance as injury replacement in the final Test against Sri Lanka, carrying the bat with a brilliant 145 not out, although Kohli said before the match that the batsmen knew he may have to step aside when M Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan return.

The focus is back on Pujara as India gear up for the Test series against South Africa. Only time will tell what lies in store but the batsman believes he is ready for any role the team management assigns to him.

Ready for team

“As an individual, I am ready to do the job for the team. I don’t know about the position and once I join the team, I will have a word with the captain and the team director. They will let me know the number I will be batting at. Depending on

the team’s requirement, I will be ready for it,” said Pujar a, who will lead the Board President’s XI in a twoday match against South Africa.

Pujara also stressed that he was comfortable batting at the top of the order. “As I have batted at number 3, I have got the experience of facing the new ball. So, technically I don’t have to do much adjustment to my batting as an opener.

“Personally I feel I will be facing the same bowlers whom I will face in the Test series, so it’s a good thing and I hope we have a good time out there.” Young Rajasthan pacer Nathu Singh, hailing from a humble background and just four first-class matches old, will get his first big opportunity to show his talent as a g enuine quick. Pujara praised the 20-year-old. “He is a talented youngster. The most important thing is that he is quick and he can swing the ball.”

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