“Had I been picked by an IPL team, I wouldn’t have got any games”: Cheteshwar Pujara

Pujara plied his trade in the County Championship after going unsold at the IPL auction.

Cheteshwar Pujara played for Sussex during the IPL 2022 season | GettyVeteran batter Cheteshwar Pujara on Sunday (May 22) earned a callback to the India Test squad for the rescheduled fifth Test against England at Edgbaston, starting July 1.

Pujara was included in the 17-member squad on the back of his outstanding display in the County Championship for Sussex.

After being axed from the Indian Test side for the home series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, Pujara decided to ply his trade in the County Championship. Playing for Sussex, the right-hander amassed 720 runs in eight innings, which included four centuries.

WATCH: Pujara’s epic battle against Shaheen in County Cricket

Pujara featured in County Cricket during the ongoing IPL. While the 34-year-old went unsold at the IPL 2022 mega-auction, he believes he wouldn't have got any opportunity in the T20 league even after being picked.

Cheteshwar Pujara was part of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) squad in the 2021 IPL edition but didn’t play a single game.

“You can say that now in hindsight. Had I been picked by an IPL team, there were major chances that I wouldn’t have got any games. I would have just gone (to nets) and practised. Getting match practice and practice in the nets is always different. So when the county thing happened, I just said yes. The major reason I said yes to the county (stint) is that I wanted my old rhythm back,” Pujara told The Indian Express.

“I was positive, there was no doubt about it. The way my county stint went, I was hopeful that I will make a comeback to the Indian team. But when I went to play county cricket, the India comeback was never on my mind; I just wanted to find my rhythm and I knew one big innings would help me find my rhythm back,” he added.

Reflecting on his county stint, Pujara said it helped him regain his fitness and concentration levels.

“I was just trying to find my old form. If you look at my innings in the past, I was getting 80s, 90s, so I never felt I was out of form even when the big runs were not coming. I was just hoping to get big runs. Big runs means not 100 but 150-plus scores. Because to get back to my usual concentration level, I needed those big scores. And I found that in England. I found my rhythm and as I got those runs, things began to fall in place.”

“Once I bat for long, it not only improves concentration, but it also improves fitness. The county stint helped me to see where my fitness stands. One cannot play big innings if one does not have proper fitness. So everything went well," said the veteran batter.

Cheteshwar Pujara has played 95 Tests for India so far, scoring 6713 runs at an average of 43.87 with 18 tons and 32 half-centuries.


By Salman Anjum - 23 May, 2022

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