Since launching his first-class career in 2005, Cheteshwar Pujara has never looked back. In terms of scoring runs on the domestic circuit, he has hardly faltered. However, his career graph, that was rising at a considerable pace, took a nosedive after a freak right knee injury in the last Indian Premier League (IPL). The injury, followed by a surgery in July this year, forced the 23-year-old to take a four-month hiatus from competitive cricket after making his Test debut against Australia in October last year.
Waiting to return: Cheteshwar Pujara
Currently under rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, the Saurashtra player has begun knocking at the nets. "I have trained hard during this phase and now I'm almost fit, though I won't be able to play the first couple of matches for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy," the right-handed batsman, who has accumulated 4130 first-class runs, told MiD DAY.
Besides his chances of representing the country against the West Indies being bleak, it will be a challenge for Pujara to make himself available for next month's tour Down Under too. He is hopeful though. "My focus is on the Australia tour and I believe that playing a few first-class matches before that tour will help boost my
confidence," Pujara said.
As for losing valuable time due to the injury, the young batsman, is not too worried. "This happens to every sportsperson and you cannot complain. During this four-month period, I told myself to be focused and worked hard to get fit... there is no hurry. I know the injury came at the worst possible time, but I couldn't have done anything about it. I have been training with all the top stars of the India team and everybody has asked me to forget about the past and focus on what is on my plate right now.
"I have followed their advice and it has helped me avoid being frustrated. It's been sort of an off-season for me."