Seldom will you find a player averaging more than 50 in domestic limited overs cricket, not being a part of their national team’s setup. However, if you ever need an example, look no further than India’s own Cheteshwar Pujara, who averages 54 in List A cricket and has a highest score of 158* with 10 centuries in 82 matches.
But the label of long format cricketer is embedded so deep with his name, that he is not part of ODIs, but is regularly shunned by the IPL franchises as well. But Pujara is not concerned with the fame, though he is that he is ignored, despite having the talent to prove that he can hold his own in the shorter formats as well.
Yahoo Cricket caught up with Cheteshwar Pujara, who got candid about his journey so far and future plans. We have excerpts from the interview for you here.
On being asked about missing the limelight that IPL provides, Pujara said, “My priority is always to improve as a cricketer and win matches for the team whenever I get a chance. I’m not much bothered about what is happening outside my cricketing zone. I have seen cricketers outside India – people don’t even recognize them. Only in India are cricketers given so much importance, but at times you don’t even get the privacy you want to go out with your family.”
He also called his latest county cricket stint fruitful. Pujara said, “I really enjoyed playing county cricket this year. I have played in the past but this year I was played for a different team, Nottinghamshire. It was a new dressing room environment. There were a lot of players there who have played for England – Stuart Broad, Samit Patel and others. It was overall a very good experience.”
He said the recent India-Australia series was played in high tension. He said, “They tried to sledge, not just me, but the whole team. We also gave them back, at some stage we also sledged. I just want to ensure that the team wins. That is the ultimate thing for a cricketer. Appreciation is a byproduct.”
He also said that he was great at playing badminton, tennis and table tennis.
He was hopeful of a fruitful series against Sri Lanka. He said, “We know each others strengths and weaknesses. Sri Lankan pitches are similar to those in India, so we know what to expect. I’ll follow the same routine as last year and would want to continue the form I was in last season.”