Smooth transition to Tests - The New Indian Express

Smooth transition to Tests

Published: 14th October 2012 10:46 AM

Last Updated: 14th October 2012 10:46 AM

Cheteshwar Puj­a­ra warranted notice first wi­th the sheer  weight of runs in domestic cricket, season after season with constancy, then with the more noticeable felicity of strokes and the smooth transition into Test matches.

But the making of Pujara the complete batsman, a pr­ocess that began a decade ago in the courtyards of the middle-class Pujara househ­old in downtown Rajkot, is a st­ory in progress. He isn’t obsessed with his technique, but is wary of technical adj­ustments and fine-tuning th­at could enable him deal wi­th challenges and varying co­nditions.

Prior to his tour to West In­dies with the A team, he discussed his game at length with South Africa batsman AB de Villiers and Bangalo­re Royal Challengers batting coach Mark O’Donnell.

“The IPL gave me the opp­o­rtunity to interact with AB. He advised me to wait for the ball rather than go for it, which I was prone to doi­ng. He also told me to play the ball as late as possible. Mark O’Donnell told me to make a few adjustments, es­p­e­c­ially my head was falling over a tad too much,” he recollected.

With his father Aravind, a former first-class cricketer himself, he worked on his sta­nce. “To get better balan­ce I have now widened my stance. It was my father’s advise and I discus each aspect of my batting with him. He was my first coach and still is. Overall, these are the three points of my batting I have been working on in the nets as well as on the field,” he explained.

These aforementioned p­oin­ts may seem requisites in the coaching manual, but Pujara is prudent enough to realise that the basics need to be worked upon and not something to be dispensed with. For, it’s easy for bad ha­bits to sneak into one’s technique. Even the best ba­tsmen are prone to falli­ng over and reaching for the ball at any given stage of th­eir career. Technique, to Pujara, is more of an emotional anchor, a part of his being.

Until his maiden hundred against New Zealand he was a man sure of his abilities but unsure of his future.

But the hundred in Hyd­erabad against New Zealand asserted to himself than mo­­st that he belonged in the highest league.

“We are looking forward to the England series. It’s an important series for all of us,  especially after what th­ey did to us last year. We want to win the Test  series and reclaim the number 1 spot,” he stated.

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