Experienced Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who has done wonders in the longest format of cricket since last two seasons, highlighted the significance of leaving the ball on the bouncy Proteas pitches ahead of the Test series opener at Newlands.
This is Pujara’s third Test tour to the rainbow nation and the 29-year-old hasn’t yet forgotten the method with which he scored some tough runs against the likes of Steyn and Morkel in the 2013-14 trip. Pujara has compiled 280 runs at an incredible average of 70 in that 2013-14 Test tour to South Africa. The classy right-hander has played a disciplined knock of 153 in the second innings of the first Test at Wanderers, where he left a lot of balls outside the off stump.
"It is important to leave the ball well, especially overseas. Once you move out of Asia, there is enough bounce in the pitches and that is the reason one should be able to leave the ball," Pujara was quoted by PTI as saying after a practice session on Tuesday (January 2).
"It (the adjustment) is both technical and mental. The good thing is that most of the players have been here before. Personally, I have been here twice (2010-11 and 2013-14). It is about knowing your game, knowing the conditions and you just need to apply yourself," he further added.
Considering the fact that real Test match wicket will be completely different to the warm-up one, the Indian team management had cancelled their solitary two-day practice game and instead opted to have an extended practice session within their own control.
On being asked if the players feel rusty, Pujara said: "See, when we were playing at home against Sri Lanka, we had the South Africa series in our minds. We had prepared few things even in India. I don't think we are in any rush, there is plenty of time to prepare."
During the recently concluded Test and ODI series against Sri Lanka, Indian batsmen had struggled to cope up against the moving all on the seaming pitches of Kolkata and Dharamsala. Although, the moving ball is not so much of a factor in South Africa, the bounce will certainly be a challenge.
"Yes, there will be some bounce and that is always a challenge. But this time we have have enough preparation and we would like to back ourselves and try and execute the things which we have done over the past one and a half months," Pujara said
"I think the experience is most important. You know what to expect from the pitch, what to expect from the opposition. Nothing can match the experience of scoring on such pitches. You know what you want to do as a batsman and even as a team," he concluded.
India will face South Africa in three-match Test series from January 5 at Newlands, Cape Town. The series will be followed by six ODIs and three T20Is.
Virat Kohli(c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Parthiv Patel, Jasprit Bumrah
South Africa Squad (1st Test):
Faf du Plessis(c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn