Ranji Trophy helped me find my lost rhythm, says Cheteshwar Pujara ahead of England Test


Cheteshwar Pujara said playing first-class games was the important thing for him after being dropped. Team India will play the fifth and last Test vs England from July 1 to 5 at Edgbaston.

Shared News: June 23, 2022 8:57:00 am
Cheteshwar Pujara celebrates after scoring a double century against Derbyshire. (Cheteshwar Pujara/Instagram)

Cheteshwar Pujara didn’t have a decent run in the Ranji Trophy. He managed to score only 191 runs in five innings, while playing for Saurashtra. The defending champions were knocked in the league stage, and Pujara was not picked by any IPL teams during the mega auction. The IPL snub proved to be a blessing for Pujara. He played for Sussex in the County and scored a couple of double tons and two hundred – 170*, 203, 109, 201* – in seven inning games at an average of 143.

Speaking to BCCI.tv Pujara said playing in Ranji Trophy and County championships, helped got his lost rhythm back. The Indian Test team will play the fifth and last Test vs England, starting July 1 to 5 at Edgbaston.

“I was preparing for this tour back home. Even when I joined the Sussex team. I played 3 Ranji Trophy games for Saurashtra. I found my rhythm in that series. I knew that I was batting well. When I hit my first 100 in my first game with Sussex, I knew everything was back to normal. I was finding my footwork, my back lift, everything was coming along well. After that I made sure I enjoyed the game. The most important thing was to have a good time on the field,” said Pujara.

The Indian team will play a four-day tour match against Leicestershire starting from Thursday at the Uptonsteel County Ground. However, four cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna will all team up with the Leicestershire squad.

Rahul Dravid keeps things simple: Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara has always been compared to the former India captain and current coach Rahul Dravid. Pujara was the one, who took Dravid’s No 3 position in India’s Test XI, once the legendary batter decided to retire.

Recalling his first meeting with Rahul Dravid, Pujara said: “Rahul Bhai has always been an inspiration for me. When I first met him in 2007, he was leading the India team. He came to Rajkot. That was my first interaction with him as a young kid.

“After that, I have always been in touch, I have learned so many things from him as a cricketer when I was playing with him and even after he retired and coached India A team, he has always been helpful.

“He always keeps simple, he has great ideas about batting, he doesn’t complicate things. It’s always good to learn from him, it’s always good to work with Rahul Bhai. It’s a good environment to be in, even when we played here in 2021, when Ravi (Shastri) Bhai was around, the way the guys played (was fantastic),” he added.

India currently lead the Test series 2-1. The fifth Test match, which was supposed to be held at Old Trafford in Manchester last year, was cancelled due to Covid-19. A win or draw in the 5th Test will help them win a series in England for the first time since 2007-08.

India Squad for 5th Test vs ENG: Rohit Sharma (Capt), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.