Cricket

Melbourne win the series-defining moment: Cheteshwar Pujara


‘After that, the guys got a lot of confidence and started believing we gained the upper hand’

Over the years, Cheteshwar Pujara has earned plaudits for his batting in the longer format of the game. He is flattered by the Rahul Dravid comparisons — for their identical batting approach — but insists he is focused on the job at hand, which is to win matches for India.

Following a challenging but successful tour of Australia, the 33-year-old is elated that the hard work and determination shown by an inexperienced Indian team has paid off.

“There were so many injuries, so many players were missing. But it also gave opportunities to young players to play to their potential. It turned out very well for us in the end,” Pujara told Sportstar from Chennai.

Pujara was dismissed five times by No. 1 Test bowler Pat Cummins during India’s 2-1 series win. But Pujara said not overthinking his duels with Cummins helped in the end.

Respect and move on

“Initially, [Cummins] was bowling very well and I had to make some changes to my game. He was maintaining a good line and length. So, if I got out to a good delivery, I had to respect that and move on. That is what helped me perform better because I realised that I had to move on as early as possible.”

Pujara feels India’s victory in Melbourne, after the humbling loss in Adelaide, was the turning point in the four-match Border-Gavaskar series.

“Jinks (Rahane) batted really well in that game. So, I feel that was the series-defining moment. After that win, the guys got a lot of confidence and they started believing a bit more that now we [have] gained the upper hand. After that, we decided to stick to our process which helped us,” he said.

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