Fit-again Pujara raring to go

Fit-again Pujara raring to go

The right-hander struck an uncharacteristic but eye-catching 72 in India’s successful chase to lend further credence to his reputation as one for the future.

Royal Challengers Bangalore then bought him spending over USD 600,000 during the IPL auction ahead of the fourth season. Pujara’s career appeared headed in the right direction when fate struck a cruel blow. The youngster injured his knee — he had been operated upon his left knee previously — after slipping on the Chinnaswamy outfield during an IPL match.

As he hobbled off the turf little did he realise the extent of the damage. Pujara’s world had come crashing down when he came to know that he would be out of action for at least six months.

“It was frustrating initially,” said the right-hander ahead of his first competitive match (Ranji match against Karnataka) since the injury early May this year.  After consulting a doctor in England, Pujara underwent a surgery that delayed his comeback. Had he stayed injury-free, he would have been on the plane to the West Indies and probably England as well.

“Walking on crutches and not being able to do anything... it was a tough situation to deal with. But once I started my rehabilitation, I slowly came to terms with it. I was on the field working on my fitness and game.”

The Saurashtra batting mainstay said he was keenly looking forward to his comeback match beginning here on Tuesday. “It’s been a long time but I am doing well in the nets. I am confident of doing well,” he remarked.

Jeshwant confident
Karnataka coach K Jeshwant, meanwhile, sounded confident of overcoming the absence of regular skipper R Vinay Kumar (on India duty) and Manish Pandey (hernia operation). “We’ll miss them, no doubt about that,” he said. “But then we had foreseen such a scenario. We knew at some stage or the other we could be without Robin (Uthappa) or Vinay or both and we have tried out possible replacements in the run up to the season. It’s not that we were caught off-guard,” he explained.

The former Karnataka skipper also rued Pandey’s injury. “He was maturing as a batsman this season,” he pointed out. “He is obviously talented but he had begun to put price on his wicket. The Mumbai innings was an example of that,” he added.