Every time India tours to England, fans start hoping for a historical series where India manages to keep the lead and win the series, unlike 2014 where they were crushed after the win in the second Test at Lord's.
The hopes are high this time as well and India cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara, who is part of the Test series, thinks this is the best chance for the team to clinch a series win as they are better prepared than previous times.
“We have played a lot of cricket outside the sub-continent since our last tour of England in 2014 and that experience will come in handy. There have been some seaming tracks in India as well and most of the batsmen are experienced in handling the conditions now. We are better prepared this time,” Pujara said as per reports of Hindustan Times.
Pujara's longest county stint with Yorkshire didn't go as he would have expected but he is still happy and looking forward to the Test series where his experience in England will be useful.
“Playing county cricket is always helpful as it allows you to get used to the conditions. England is the toughest place to bat because you have to get used to the weather, and the seaming conditions.
“I don’t want to comment much on technique but this experience will definitely come in handy. The ball swings for good 40 to 50 overs in England and playing more in these conditions allows you to know where to focus,” Pujara opined.
No doubt it is going to be a tough series for the Indian team. The conditions will test the Indian batsmen and the Saurashtra cricketer thinks that is what important for the team.
“Temperament is the key in these conditions. One should be ready to grind it out when the ball is moving. Once you settle in, you can gauge the movement off the pitch and in the air and that is when you can play your shots.”
Pujara's overseas scores aren't as illustrious as his numbers in Asia. The 30-year-old would like to better the record in the upcoming series.
“I think as a cricketer you need to know what and where you can develop your game. Once you work on those areas you can get rid of the chinks. I have worked hard in the nets and I am confident things will change,” he said.
Pujara, who has often been criticized for his slow batting intent in Test, said there is no specific role set for him by the management and he is free to play his game without any outside pressure.
“There is no set role for anyone to be honest. You need to change your game according to match situations. When you play in difficult conditions, you have to play according to the merit of the ball.
“I know what things to do to succeed in this format and I play accordingly. The track also determines what kind of a strategy you have as a batsman, and that is why there can’t be any particular roles. As a team, we discuss what needs to be done and that’s how we go out and perform,” he said.
Pujara's mantra to beat England in their home is to understand the side better and then plan accordingly. “You need to understand that they are a good team. You can’t have a strategy around two or three players. Anyone can be dangerous.
“As batsmen, we know their seam duo (James Anderson and Stuart Broad) are tricky customers, but we have to prepare against the others too. Similarly, as a bowling unit, we will have to work on all their batsmen. Yes, some have been more successful against us but we will have a plan for all of them,” said Pujara.
When you are playing against a tough team, you don't want to miss the chance produced by the bowler. Dropping a catch has cost India in the past. Pujara said they have discussed it.
“We have discussed this issue at length. Our fielding coach spoke to us during the Test match against Afghanistan and we have been practicing hard to improve our catching. It will have a big impact on the series and I hope our hard work will help us."
Pujara also thinks there are chances that the Indian spinners could do the trick for them. “There is a possibility that the pitches might take turn. How much will it turn will depend on what kind of tracks are prepared but our spinners are talented and they could make a difference this time,” he said.
However, the cricketer refrained to comment on the selection of Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI. “Kuldeep Yadav is a very talented bowler. I have played against him on several occasions and his variety makes him a difficult bowler to pick.
“I would avoid talking about his selection as that is the decision of the team management but as a player, he is capable of doing well,” Pujara said.
Apart from this series, the owner of 4531 runs in Tests said he is eager to be a part of ICC Test Championship.
“I am very excited about the Test championship. It is the way forward for the longest format and this will be beneficial for everyone. It will give a much-needed boost to Test cricket.”
The Indian batsman wasn't ready to give his views on day-night Test as well.
“I am not experienced enough to comment on its merits or demerits. It is a new format and opinion about it is still divided. It is too early to comment about day-night Tests,” Pujara signed off.