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‘Instinctive’ Pujara Looks to Follow Williamson Route for T20 Success

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: February 22, 2019, 11:30 AM IST
‘Instinctive’ Pujara Looks to Follow Williamson Route for T20 Success

File image of Indian cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara. (Getty Images)

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Cheteshwar Pujara’s ability in red-ball cricket has never been in doubt but the same cannot be said for limited overs cricket, especially T20s, where he is seen as a player unable to score at a brisk rate.

However, Pujara – who hasn’t played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since 2015 – scored a 61-ball century for Saurashtra against Railways in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

The 31-year old said after the match that while he’s worked on adding some shots to his repertoire, he isn’t necessarily looking to play unconventionally and will stick to playing conventional cricketing shots like Kane Williamson.

“The prime example I could give you is of Kane Williamson. If you look at his T20 batting - he even got an Orange Cap in the IPL (2018) - most of his shots are cricketing shots. That is what I look up to. I like to make runs similarly,” Pujara told ESPNcricinfo.

“If I have to play unorthodox shots, if need be at some stage, then I will work on it if the format requires that. I am not against that, but my success has been with cricketing shots and I will stick to that as long as I can. But if the field is set in such a manner that I need to play the paddle or scoop, I can do it.”

He described his batting style as ‘instinctive’, stating that the major difference between Tests and T20s is the need to play without fear in the latter format.

“It (batting style) is very much instinctive. The reason is, you need to be really up for it. Sometimes you have to pre-plan strokes. If you see a ball and if you feel like going for it, you just have to go with the momentum. You have to be fearless.

“Basically, if you have any fear you just have to remove it and start playing your shots. Sometimes you make an error, which is fine in this format, which is accepted. In Test cricket it is not. That is the difference.”

Pujara called his knock against Railways as ‘special’, even if it wasn’t enough to help his side avoid defeat against a defiant Railways side.

“It is special. This was expected because I have done well whenever I have got the opportunity in white-ball cricket. I am not surprised by this century, but I am sure many people are.

“I knew this one would come at some stage in my career, and this is the right time. I have been really batting well. Good form in Test cricket can help you bat well in shorter formats.”

And while he has gone unsold in the IPL auctions since 2015 whenever his name has been in the auction pool, he knows such performances could help change that.

“I put my name in because somewhere down the line I am very confident about playing white ball, whether it is ODI or T20. If I am not picked, I am not picked. But with such results, if I can carry on like this, people will start noticing.

“Even franchises might take notice. If I am still not picked I will carry on doing things I am doing. I don't want to change anyone's perceptions.”
First Published: February 22, 2019, 11:30 AM IST
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