Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has become India's batting mainstay in Tests. He had suffered a lean patch in his career which lasted more than 30 months. During this phase, Pujara only managed five fifties and a lone hundred.
Since September 2016, Pujara has scored seven half-centuries and four centuries in 21 innings. The last Test in Ranchi, Pujara had proved his worth once again as he batted for 672 minutes for his 525-ball 202 and helped his team to get out of trouble and into a commanding position.
During a press conference on Thursday, Pujara said, "I think when it comes to patience, it is all hard work. I have started playing cricket at the age of eight and then I played (my) first game for the state team at the age of 13. Since then, I have been playing this format and I think it's the experience of playing (in) the domestic circuit and working hard day in and out (that is) paying off now."
He added, "I can say that at times, I am in that zone where things are happening for me because of that experience because I know how to do things, how to continue batting and how to continue concentrating for a longer period of time. I am in that zone where I know what to do, how to focus, how to switch off and how to switch back again. I would still reiterate that it's the experience. I have been doing it in domestic cricket for a longer period of time, which is helping me now.”
Pujara is currently one of the most impactful batsmen for India. Talking about his innings, Pujara said, "See we have worked really hard on our fitness since the last one or one and a half years' time. I think it's the mental battle we've to win and we're mentally up for this game. We are quite motivated because we want to win this series. I think fatigue shouldn't come into play because playing for the Indian team is the most important thing for any cricketer."
He further elaborated, "I focus on my diet. I try and sleep on time and have a good sleep. Do some recovery sessions, have a massage. Those sort of things, I have some routines once the match finishes, I try and focus on that, I give a lot of importance to recovery. I don't know, mentally I think you just have to be up for it. Mentally, you can't do anything extra to just come out of it, but when you're tired, you just have to motivate yourself and the ultimate goal is to win matches for the team."
The dependable batsman concluded by talking about the wicket at Dharamsala, he said, "It looks like a good wicket. I think we have played a lot of cricket even in Dharamsala. We have played enough first-class cricket, we know the conditions. We will just try and focus on things which want to focus on rather than worrying about how the wicket will play. We have played enough cricket on different pitches throughout the season. So I don't think wicket will matter a lot to us. We are very confident, the way we have played throughout the series. Apart from the first Test match, we have played very good cricket. So we would look to continue that and win the series.”