India Test team regular Cheteshwar Pujara’s performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) hasn’t been as per his expectations. Injuries, too, played a role in hampering his progress. But the Saurashtra run-machine has firm faith in his abilities to excel at the shortest format of the game and wants to prove a point to himself this season.
With Kings XI Punjab this year, Pujara spoke of his desire to do well in this edition of the IPL, albeit only for his personal satisfaction, the necessary tweaks he has introduced in his batting and the mental approach towards this goal.
To warm up for IPL, Pujara played for Saurashtra in the West Zone qualifiers of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy and got a half-century against Mumbai. “May be I haven’t been so successful in the IPL but I have the positive of playing for team India. In IPL, I haven’t got to play so many matches because of injuries in second and fourth editions. I had a trouble getting out of these injuries. Also, in one of the season I was injured while playing for India. I had the finger injury which I got playing the last Test match against Australia in Delhi,” Pujara told Deccan Herald.
“As for T20 format and IPL, I feel I am capable enough to play this format. It’s just about getting more matches and exposure in this format. For me, it is more than just about proving to anybody else. It is about personal satisfaction.”
Pujara said he would not be making too many changes in his technique but has worked on his mental approach. “In T20 format, it is not about making too many changes in your techniques. I have to take things very simple and I have to play the way I know how to play the game. You have to be little more aggressive than what you generally do in the ODIs. “But for me, I have seen that whenever I have played a Test match and I cross the 50-run mark, I have really become very positive and aggressive, so those sort of stuff I am looking at in the T20 format,” said Pujara who previously played for Knight Riders and Royal Challengers.
“In T20 you don’t have the time to get set, so what I have been doing in the nets and game matches is that I have changed my mental approach and I have started playing shots from the first ball onwards. If the ball is there to be hit, I will try and hit that ball.”
Pujara said the Kings XI Punjab was shaping well and Indian players are enjoying interacting with foreign players like Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey. But it is with Virender Sehwag, Pujara seemed most keen to bat with. “Playing with Sehwag will be really good for me, no matter what the slot.
I had played a few Test innings with him and I remember the experiences I had with him on the crease. The kind of person he is, the kind of attitude he has when he is on the crease is really nice because he keeps himself relaxed and he also talks between the overs. He is the kind of player who can guide all the youngsters, and he can judge the situation and the bowler really well because the kind of experience he had.”