IND v NZ 2021: Cheteshwar Pujara aims to play with a fearless mindset against New Zealand

India to face New Zealand in the first of the two Tests in Kanpur from Nov 25.

Cheteshwar Pujara | GettyCheteshwar Pujara will be back in action for the Indian team when they take on New Zealand in the first Test of the two-match series in Kanpur from Nov 25. Pujara will also be the vice-captain of the team as Ajinkya Rahane will captain the side in Virat Kohli’s absence.

Ahead of the first Test, Pujara insisted that not having a Test hundred in three years doesn’t perturb him as long as his 80s and 90s are coming in winning causes. He also said that a bit more aggression in his gameplay in the England series helped him, as he was being criticized for his slow approach.

Yes, I feel so. When it comes to performing, the mindset was a little different but when it comes to technique, I don’t think there was a major change in technique. It was just the approach and I was a little fearless which helps,” Pujara told PTI.

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You don’t need to put too much pressure on yourself and just try and go there and enjoy the game rather than worrying too much about what’s going around. That was the mindset during the England series. So far preparation has been good and experiences of playing in Indian conditions will help in the next couple of Tests,” he added.

For Pujara, the lack of a Test hundred since January 2019 isn’t a problem. “As far as my hundred is concerned, when it has to happen it will happen. My job is to bat well for the team and it’s not that I haven’t been getting runs. I have got 80s and 90s. As long as I am batting well and contributing for the team, I am not bothered about my hundred. It’s matter of one innings.”

Talking about being the vice-captain of the side, Pujara said: “Added responsibility can work in your favour as you can share experience with youngsters. Even when I am not vice-captain, I try and share my experiences as much as I can and the ultimate focus is about Indian team.”

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane | GettyPujara also opined on captain Ajinkya Rahane’s form as he has also faced a drought of runs for a long time, barring a couple of good innings.

He is a great player but there are times when a player goes through tough times and that’s part of the game. So there will be ups and downs but he is a confident player, one who works very hard on his game and I am very sure and he is just one innings away from getting a big score. Once he gets a big hundred, he will back in form. He has been working hard in the nets and I have been seeing the way he has been batting. He is in good touch,” Pujara said.

(PTI inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 23 Nov, 2021

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