AUS v IND 2020-21: Pujara relishes "wonderful" memories of Australia but wants to start fresh 

Pujara struck 521 runs in seven innings during India's historic maiden series win down under.

Cheteshwar Pujara | GettyCheteshwar Pujara understands India will need to get most things right in order to repeat the historic feat from their last Australian trip, but the Indian Test No.3 doesn't think it's beyond the reach of a side that will take inspiration from a memorable 2-1 series win in 2018-19 season. 

"It will be challenging, no doubt about it," Pujara said on 'Tissot Presents Sportstar Extras T20 Time show' as India revisits down under to try and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in December-January. "But our team is very confident now, especially there were many positives from the last tour."

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"Yes, we won the series, but apart from that, look at the way we played cricket, there were many players who performed. It was a collective effort."

“The way our fast bowlers bowled was incredible. They’ve gained a lot of confidence from that. So, we are a much stronger unit. Yes, their (Australia) side is also stronger with (Steve) Smith and (David) Warner." 

"It won’t be easy, but I am confident that if we start off well and if the guys are up for it mentally and are confident about beating them, then we will."

"As long as we are confident and perform to our potential, this team has the talent (and potential) to repeat what happened in the past."

Personally, though, Pujara doesn't want to think too much of the past where his 521 runs with three hundreds were integral to India's success. 

"There were so many positives, but it will be a fresh start for sure," he said. "You can’t live in the past and just be happy about it. Yes, it was a wonderful tour and all of us were happy, but this is a fresh challenge, a fresh start. One has to look at it as a new challenge."

Pujara also admitted regaining his best touch and rhythm will certainly be a task as he hasn't had any form of competitive cricket under his belt since March, when he finished the tour of New Zealand and the COVID-19 pandemic had just begun firming its grip. 

"The most important part is mental preparation. Physically, I have been training well, practising well. So, the skill and fitness part is covered. But not having played enough matches is something that can be psychological."

"Mentally if you think that you are in the zone, it might take some time. But as long as you are mentally prepared and if I am confident that I can pull it off, then it’s just a matter of one innings," he added. 

Pujara is currently in UAE, fine-tuning his preparations along with fellow Test specialist Hanuma Vihari under the supervision of India's coaching staff. 

The 32-year-old will be joining the rest of the touring contingent in Dubai and depart for Australia post the conclusion of IPL 2020 on November 10. 

The four-Test series begins on December 17 upon completion of India's quarantine, the limited-overs leg of the tour and two warm-up matches that precede the Tests. 

(Inputs from Sportstar)


By Kashish Chadha - 03 Nov, 2020

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