‘You can’t bat for social media, my aim is to win’: Cheteshwar Pujara
Written by Devendra Pandey
| Rajkot |

Updated: March 16, 2020 12:38:10 am

After reaching 4 finals within the eight seasons, Cheteshwar Pujara has lastly gained a Ranji Trophy for Saurashtra. (Source: cheteshwar1)

Days after Saurashtra claimed their maiden Ranji Trophy, the second is but to sink in for Cheteshwar Pujara. For, it has been a protracted and agonising wait for him, as Saurashtra have been at all times the ‘nearly team’, having misplaced three finals within the final eight seasons. The grasp batsman opens up to The Indian Express concerning the Ranji hangover, planning for the title, his function within the facet, his usually misunderstood batsmanship and in a lighter vein, the social-media trolls.

Is there nonetheless a little bit of Ranji Trophy hangover?

It is nonetheless there. The similar day we had a small occasion within the night. The subsequent day I used to be flooded with messages. Whoever I met, together with the previous gamers, informed me that they felt happy with us they usually have by no means seen a day like this. The final time this area gained the event was in 1936 when it was known as Nawanagar. The subsequent day I went to watch ‘Angrezi Medium‘ and other people have been speaking about it (the title). That reveals what it means to this a part of the world.

How a lot planning has gone into it?

We had been planning for the final two years after Jaydev Shah stepped down. I used to be requested to lead the crew however due to worldwide commitments, I stated no. It’s necessary to have a participant who can lead the crew all through the season. So Jaydev Unadkat was the suitable selection. He is my buddy and we each had a typical objective. Last yr, we got here shut and misplaced to Vidarbha away from dwelling. The day we misplaced, we started planning for the subsequent season. We (understood) that we wanted to work on health, fielding and slip catching. The better part is that 7-Eight gamers have been enjoying collectively for the final six-seven years. We perceive one another’s potential. We stored small, small targets, had crew bonding classes and dinner with one another.

What was your function on this crew?

I used to be there to assist anybody at any time, each time anybody wanted me. I’ve watched them intently, so if I felt one thing ought to be informed, I informed them. Some of the gamers used to assume an excessive amount of (about their recreation), which was not wanted. Someone like Chirag Jani, who was out and in of the crew. So I informed him that he wants to spend extra time on the crease. He informed me that temperament was a difficulty. Sometimes, his shot choice was dangerous. He was overthinking. I informed him a number of technical issues and guaranteed him that it was about getting one first rate knock. The runs will come, the rhythm will fall into place and he’ll acquire confidence. Eventually, his achievements have been down to his arduous work. I’m not a coach, I’ll solely counsel. I cannot power anybody to change issues. If they wished to develop as cricketers, they want to belief their recreation.

READ | ‘I saw the making of Cheteshwar Pujara’

Were you the one who emphasised on crew tradition? Like Mumbai has one, Karnataka has one other.

Yes. We wished to have our personal crew tradition. We by no means had one. Each and everybody is taking care of everybody. Even these on the bench had that constructive perspective and no one cribbed when he was dropped. Credit ought to go to Unadkat. He did all of the team-bonding train.

When you have been away on India obligation, have been you in fixed contact with Unadkat?

My thoughts was in Rajkot even after I was with the Indian crew. It is very powerful to be indifferent from one thing you like probably the most. I like Saurashtra and I can’t consider myself with out my crew. I used to talk with Unadkat, not each day however each time it was wanted, each time he wished to make a giant resolution or if he had a confusion concerning the enjoying eleven. Like the mix, Saurashtra ought to play away from dwelling or on a sure kind of pitch. We each had one objective, which was to win the Ranji Trophy. Unadkat has management ka shauq. The better part is that we are sometimes on the identical web page.

Cheteshwar Pujara with Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat. (Source: Twitter)

What’s your relationship with Unadkat?

He is like a youthful brother and an in depth buddy. Whenever he wants steerage, he calls me. Be it life or cricket, he talks brazenly. He was the one that danced probably the most at my marriage ceremony. (laughs). He is a sensible bowler and sensible individual.

How do you set in perspective his consistency this season?

He is definitely a rarity as a result of I’ve seen that the second some gamers begin getting good cash within the IPL, they lose curiosity in Ranji Trophy. It is a reality, younger participant don’t give a lot significance to Ranji Trophy. So the dedication he has proven is outstanding. I’ve seen gamers, ke IPL nazdeek aa raha hai, so don’t give full effort in Ranji as a result of they don’t need to get injured and miss out on the IPL cash. He has given his coronary heart out. He might have simply stated, I’ll bowl fewer spells and save vitality for the IPL. But he didn’t. The constructive perspective of doing properly in each match has helped him loads. He has improved as a bowler, be it tempo, management or swing. In the ultimate, he bowled eight overs on the trot regardless of bowling 30 overs prior to now two days on that pitch.

READ | Ranjitsinhji: A legacy that’s older than the trophy

Do you assume in at the moment’s time that nobody desires to develop into Cheteshwar Pujara?

Shayad sure, I agree. But the younger era does perceive my recreation. Then, Test matches are getting fewer day-to-day, there are extra white-ball video games occurring. So they gained’t copy my model as a result of my batting method fits Test cricket (extra). It’s not that I can not change gears, I can play in shorter codecs too. Many folks haven’t seen me bat in white-ball cricket on TV. I do know I take a while (to get in) however that’s the best way I’ve been taught when rising up.

How do you take care of it when folks say, he stays on the crease however doesn’t rating?

In the primary innings, I took some 200-odd balls to rating 60 one thing however my teammates and I knew how powerful the wicket was. It was a remaining and there was a duty on my shoulders. There is nothing unsuitable with batting slowly if the scenario relies upon. I’ve to maintain my ego behind, the ego of me being a world batsman and dealing with some bowlers who bowl at 110 kmph. If the scenario is not straightforward and I do know I can’t play my pictures, then I cannot. Game modifications as per the pitch. Like in New Zealand, the place the pitches have been tougher.

Saurashtra crew posing with the Ranji Trophy after defeating Bengal within the remaining. (Source: cheteshwar1)

How did you take care of the trolls?

You can’t bat for social media. Many of them don’t perceive my recreation and Test cricket as a result of they see extra white-ball cricket. Yaar yeh toh bahut bore kar raha hai, kitna ball khel raha hai (He is boring us, what number of balls does he want). Please perceive one factor, my aim is not to entertain somebody, my aim is to win for my crew, be it for India or Saurashtra. Somedays I bat quick, somedays I bat slowly. I respect cricket lovers and crowd, I’m not somebody who can hit sixes. I attempt to keep away from social media, I don’t comply with social media when I’m enjoying. I’m not batting for leisure.

You should have followers who admire your work?

Yes, there are. When I meet them I really feel completely happy. Things modified after the Australia sequence. The different day, after I was having dinner in a Mumbai suburb, an previous couple informed me that after Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath they watch Test matches solely due to me. The different day, somebody informed me that individuals comply with ODIs and T20s however thanks for conserving Test cricket alive. I’m nonetheless that classical participant they’re wanting for in Test cricket. So these phrases make me completely happy. It retains me motivated, it feels, nahi koi toh dekh raha hai (At least someone is watching).

READ | Ranji Trophy: Of gritty batsmanship, controversies & a swansong

What occurred in New Zealand?

For me, the largest remorse is the shot that I performed in the course of the second Test the place I attempted to pull. I don’t often. I by no means play that form of a shot. It occurred instinctively. I nonetheless rue it, I ponder the way it occurred. Once I’m set, I by no means give my wicket away.

DRS was used for the primary time in home cricket. Any suggestion?

It’s good however the full DRS system will probably be higher. At least, have full DRS for the ultimate. I used to be contained in the dressing room more often than not and I felt that if full DRS have been there, we might have gained the sport method earlier than.

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