HYDERABAD: These are not great days for Cheteshwar Pujara. For someone whose last year was nothing short of an annus mirabilis, the current season has started disastrously. In the three overseas Tests against the Proteas, the number three batsman managed to score only 100 runs. His twin run-outs in the second Test also put him under the scanner. To add to that, he would not be a part of the Indian Premier League again, as he was not picked by any franchise.
Speaking to Express, the Saurashtra skipper said that repeated snubs are a little disappointing, but he is still trying to make that cut in future. “At times, it is definitely disappointing. But as a cricketer, I can only do things that are in my hands,” Pujara said after his side suffered a six-wicket defeat against Jammu and Kashmir in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, here on Thursday.
Every year, many big-wigs of the game are snubbed at the auctions, with Hashim Amla, Joe Root and Pujara being some of this year’s casualties. “A great player like Amla was not picked. It is just that I have to be patient, move on and keep on trying. My chance might come next year. Who knows?” he asserted. Asked whether a base price of `75 lakh could have seemed a bit higher for the franchises, Pujara said:”I do not think the base price would have made a huge difference.”
To make that ‘cut’, Pujara is looking to try new things this season. “I cannot go into the technical details, but there are some things that I have not tried in the past. The objective is to become a better player in shorter formats. Trying out new things might also help me in Test cricket.” While his career is set as a Test player, he is yet to get recognition in the shorter formats, on bigger platforms. Interestingly, in all the 58 T20s he has played in his career, he averages a decent 25.48 with a strike rate of 105.18. He also has a stupendous average of over 53 in List A.
Does he feel anxious that he might be labelled as a ‘Test specialist’ forever? “Not really. In fact, at this point of time, I am very confident, because I am still young. I still have many years left in me. If I keep improving my game in the shorter formats, the scenario can change within six months’ time. And once you start scoring, things can turn in your favour any moment. So, I am not under any fear of being typecast,” Pujara, who recently turned 30, said.
The batsman will turn up for Yorkshire in County Championship to further his experience on foreign soil, something he desperately needs. Though he has played county cricket quite frequently, his overseas performance has been quite mediocre, with him averaging 33.50, 22.20, 31.61 and 15.00 in Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand respectively. India are set to play Tests in England from August. The more he gets acclimatised to the conditions the better.