Pujara: Things not going to plan
HUBLI, India – It’s not often that Cheteshwar Pujara fails thrice in a row in India. The India A captain has managed scores of only 3, 17 and 25 in three innings against West Indies A in the first two four-day games, so there is every chance a big one is on the cards in the final match at the KSCA Stadium in Hubli from Wednesday.
“Things haven’t gone according to my plans,” Pujara conceded on Tuesday. “I played these games to perform. I haven’t performed to expectations, I haven’t done what I should have for the team. But you learn from your failures and it’s good that I am failing before the Test matches because I have enough time to prepare. There is another game, I am looking forward to it.
“Rather than affecting me, it (the failures) is a positive thing because I am a positive person and whenever I fail, I get motivated and work extra hard. You have to learn from your failures. Cricket is such a game where you can’t have success all the time but you have to learn something out of it to become a good cricketer.”
Pujara has scored more Test runs than any other Indian in the last 12 months, all matches on home soil, but his big challenge lies ahead with Tests lined up in the next 10 months in South Africa (if India do tour), New Zealand and England.
“These matches will be challenging, each country will have different conditions. Obviously if the South African tour goes ahead, the good thing is that I have played two Test matches over there. I know the conditions, how to score runs, what kind of changes I have to make to my technique,” he said.
“I am very excited about playing abroad because it’s always important for a good player to perform in overseas conditions. I love playing in different conditions.”
Pujara said he had been encouraged by the way Zaheer Khan had bowled in Shimoga in the second match of the series, the left-arm paceman’s first competitive fixture since May.
“He is getting his rhythm back, he is working hard on his fitness and his bowling in the nets. And he has lot of experience,” he said. “This wicket looks like there will be a little bit of help for the fast bowlers. His experience and guidance to younger players will help…”