Cricket

Taking things one at a time

A file photo of Cheteshwar Pujara hitting a square cut during an India-South Africa Test match, at the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam.

A file photo of Cheteshwar Pujara hitting a square cut during an India-South Africa Test match, at the ACA-VDCA Stadium in Visakhapatnam.  

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Cheteshwar Pujara says winning the Ranji Trophy match for Saurashtra against Railways is top on his mind right now

A batting maestro with 18 Test centuries and over 5,700 runs in 75 Test matches to his name, Cheteshwar Pujara brings to first-class cricket the same level of focus and commitment which he shows in international cricket.

Pujara, who is in the city playing for Saurashtra in a four-day Ranji Trophy match against Indian Railways, was seen practising at the nets in the Railway Stadium on Monday. After a long practice session, he took out time to interact with young cricketing hopefuls who lined up for a word of advice.

He also graciously obliged a horde of fans with selfies and autographs, displaying the same sense of composure and calm that he does on the field.

Pujara, considered the perfect successor to fill the No. 3 position after the retirement of Rahul Dravid, says he never misses out on an opportunity to play a Ranji or List A match if there is no Test series going on. “Ranji is a grooming ground and the perfect format for Test match preparation. It is as important as playing a Test match,” says Pujara.

“The preparation and dedication is same when playing a Test match for the country or a Ranji Trophy match for the State. Moreover, since we (Saurashtra) had reached the finals in last year’s Ranji Trophy, performing well this year is important. We have been playing well and hope to do better,” says Pujara.

New Zealand tour

Pujara says the Ranji matches will help him prepare for the New Zealand tour, which is scheduled to begin from January next year.

“The tour of New Zealand will be tough, as most of the pitches aid seamers. I am preparing for that tour mentally and physically,” Pujara said. “I take things one at a time. Right now, winning the Ranji match and doing better in the season is my prime focus. Next in mind is the New Zealand tour. Our Saurashtra team is a talented side with a lot of young talent. We have done well so far,” Pujara said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:18:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/taking-things-one-at-a-time/article30336506.ece

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