For Cheteshwar Pujara, the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy which India clinched 2-1, is the proudest moment of his career. However, the India Test No 3 rates Test series against Australia in 2017 at home as the toughest series he has been part of.
In an interview with Cricketnext, Pujara said, "Playing in Australia is always challenging and beating them in Australia is a tough job. So yeah, this probably is the best series for me personally but when it comes to the toughest series, I still feel that playing Australia in India in 2017-18, when we were 1-0 down and still winning that series was the toughest series I have been a part of."
Pujara also credited team's good preparation for the success in Australia. He said that he too did a specific drill which helped him cope with bowlers Down Under.
"I can't say a lot about what kind of drills I've done but there was a specific preparation that I did before going to Australia and that has helped me a lot," the Saurashtra batsman said. "Apart from that, I think it also is a mental game. Psychologically or mentally if you are prepared, if you believe in yourself that you can do it; because whatever preparations I did before the tour it helped — we were in trouble in the first innings in Australia, in the sense we lost about 4 wickets and didn't know where to go. So, I just kept believing in myself, I told myself that if we can reach somewhere close to 200-250 then it'll be a very decent total on that pitch and ultimately it happened," he added.
Providing deep insight into how he goes about batting in the longest form of the game, Pujara said that the key is to believe in one's ability and read the situation well.
"I think, one thing I do believe in is my ability, I do read the situations well, so when it’s the right time I start accelerating but before that, you just have to respect the situation, you just have to respect the opposition.
"If they are bowling a good spell, if they are bowling in partnership then you just have to read those moments and bat accordingly. It's not about how I want to bat as an individual, it's about what the team demands, what the situation demands and that is how I am mentally strong."
The Saurashtra batsman picked his Adelaide Test ton as his favourite amongst the three he scored on the tour.
"The reason is it was the first Test match and when you are playing a four Test match series, I think it is always important to start off well. When you are 1-0 up, it is very difficult to lose a series from there."
Pujara has been ignored by IPL franchises year after year. He was not picked in the IPL 2019 auction as well where he had kept his base price at Rs 50 Lakh. However, the snub by IPL teams does not bother him too much.
"Well when you are not picked at times you do get disappointed but I move on. I think I am someone who doesn't run behind things. If it doesn't come, it doesn't come. I will still keep working on my game and there are still platforms where I need to play. And during the IPL I go and play some county cricket which helps me immensely in my Test career."
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