One of India’s heroes in the Test series win in Australia, Cheteshwar Pujara opened up on his batting approach in the tour, especially on the final day of the last Test in Brisbane. Pujara made his slowest half-century and took plenty of blows on his body but stood like a rock to deny Australia a chance at a victory. India emerged victorious, sealing the series 2-1.
Pujara was criticised by many experts at various phases of the series for his slow batting, but the batsman revealed he was never in doubt as the coach and captain backed him.
“Both (Ajinkya Rahane and Ravi Shastri) backed me completely," he told Times of India."There was not a single time when they asked me to play faster. They always told me - you play your natural game, don’t think or worry about anything."
Pujara, in an interview to Sports Today, opened up on his approach against Nathan Lyon. He said he stuck to the gameplan he formed with then coach Anil Kumble in 2017 when Australia toured India.
“I trusted my preparation but at the same time, there was a lot of pressure which didn’t help. So I told myself that I have to do something," he said.
“There were so many things which I had to process in my head, which I did. I spoke to the batting coach, spoke to Ravi bhai (Shastri). Most of the feedback that I got was positive, I was batting well and just had to continue the way I had been batting without any baggage in my head.
“I also got a text from Anil bhai (Kumble) because I was in touch with him. He told me ‘you have to play in a certain manner’. The gameplan which he told me in 2017 has been helping me play well against Nathan Lyon."
Pujara said he prefers playing with a red ball over day-night Tests.
“I would prefer to play with the red ball if given the choice because it’s a different ball game all together as a batter you need to have a different strategy. Yes, pink-ball is a different ball game. Although it’s the same format, I feel it’s a different ball game. So given a choice, I will prefer to play with a red ball," he said.
The No. 3 opened up about India’s mindset after the loss in the pink ball Test, where they were bowled out for 36.
“It was tough as a team to accept that we were bowled out for 36. After that we had a chat, all of us sat together and then we spoke as a team we have to forget and start moving on as early as possible. Another positive was that it was a pink-ball and now what we were supposed to do will be with a red ball. Most of the guys had played in Australian in the past and we knew that it would be a different ball game altogether because the Australian team had that advantage of playing with pink balls in home conditions. They had played 8 to 10 games with pink balls and it was our first ever (pink ball match outside India) game. So, that was positive,"