Cheteshwar Pujara says bouncy pitches not a worry for India in South Africa
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Cheteshwar Pujara says bouncy pitches not a worry for India in South Africa

Cheteshwar Pujara will play a key role for India in the three Tests against South Africa, beginning January 5.

cricket Updated: Jan 02, 2018 21:15 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
Cheteshwar Pujara,India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India
Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has played 54 Test matches.(AFP)

India batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara said the visitors aren’t worried about the nature of pitch South Africa are preparing for the first Test starting here on Friday. “We are not bothered about the kind of pitch they will prepare. We will just try and focus on our processes. We have a clear game plan. Whether it’s a flat wicket or there is grass on it, we are prepared. We just want to stay focused on what we want to do as a team,” said Pujara after training on Tuesday.

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As someone who has toured South Africa twice before, Pujara is banking on the experience of having played here. That, in turn, gives India a headstart in terms of knowing what to expect from the conditions and opponents. “I think it’s a good thing that most of our players have been here before. The experience is the most important. Once you have scored some runs in these conditions, once you have spent some time on such pitches, you know what you want to do as a batsman, even as a team,” he said.

All focus on SA

India pulled out of the practice game after a long home series against Sri Lanka, but Pujara said the South Africa tour was on the back of their mind even while playing at home. “We were trying to prepare a few things even in India before we came here. We had plenty of time to prepare,” said Pujara, adding that the experience of coping with seaming and bouncy conditions in the Eden Gardens Test against Sri Lanka has kept India in good stead.

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“There was some movement, some bounce in the Kolkata pitch. It might be different from what we get here, but at the same time, we tried replicating what we could. Even in other matches, during net practice we had this on our mind that we will be touring South Africa and we were trying to practice accordingly.”

India No 3 Pujara’s success will be central to that of the team. Having scored a century on the 2013 tour (153 in Johannesburg), Pujara knows all about playing the waiting game before going on the attack, leaving the ball when pacers have the upper hand. “It’s always important to leave the ball well, especially when you play overseas. Once you move out of India or Asian soil, there is enough bounce and that’s the reason one should be able to leave the ball well,” Pujara said.

First Published: Jan 02, 2018 21:07 IST