Cheteshwar Pujara is making his Indian Premier League (IPL) comeback in the upcoming edition after a gap of seven years. The 'Test expert' last featured in IPL in 2014 when he played for the Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings).
After repetitively going unsold in the auctions, Pujara was snapped up by MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the 2021 auction for his base price of Rs 50 lakh.
The Indian cricketer is delighted on being given the opportunity to return to the IPL.
"To make a comeback to the IPL means a lot to me. It is the best league in the world and I have missed out on being part of it for quite some time," Pujara told Cricbuzz.
His purchase at the auction led to a round of applause from the remaining seven franchises at the auction.
"I could not have been more pleased. I am really proud and happy about that gesture by the franchises. It is the respect one gets for representing the country. I thank the franchise, Mr Srinivasan and Mahi (MS Dhoni) bhai for showing faith in me," he added.
Favorite Moment of this year auction 💗
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Pujara had usually used the free time during the IPL by playing in county cricket to hone his skills. Last year, he signed for Gloucestershire after he went unsold in the 2020 auction. This time, however, Pujara is more focused on improving his T20 skills which are "needed" in the shortest format of the game.
The 33-year-old laments the fact that those seen as Test cricket specialists are not given enough opportunities in other formats.
"When a white-ball tournament is happening in the domestic circuit, I would be busy playing for the Indian team. But when I had a chance to play white-ball games in county cricket, I actually performed well. I know I can do well here but I have not had sufficient opportunities to showcase the talent," said Pujara.
The Gujarat cricketer has so far featured in 30 IPL games and has 390 runs to his name at a strike rate of 99.74.
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