Ace batsman looking to impress in the seventh edition of Indian Premier League
Having made the No 3 position his own in the Indian Test line-up, Cheteshwar Pujara is now eager to find himself contributing in the ODI and T20 formats as well.
Cheteshwar Pujara during his knock against Mumbai at the BKC ground on Wednesday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Pujara is in town with the Saurashtra team that is competing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, and although they have not done well, the right-handed batsman is happy with his own form.
"I have been batting really well. I spent some good time in the middle against the Mumbai team," said Pujara after Saurashtra lost to Baroda by 26 runs yesterday. "The tournament provides a great chance to prepare for the upcoming IPL season," he added.
Pujara will be joining Kings XI Punjab for IPL-7, having represented Royal Challengers Bangalore last year. He did not fare well in IPL-6, managing only 92 runs in four games with 51 being his highest, and this is something he will be keen to change.
With the likes of Virender Sehwag, Glen Maxwell and David Miller in the ranks, KXIP is one of the teams to look out for, and Pujara is optimistic about his teams chances.
"We are a very good side, with lots of big names. It is important that we execute our plans and perform well. We have a camp in Chandigarh and a few days of practice in Dubai as well. Hopefully, we can do well in the tournament," he said.
Asked about the possibility of opening the batting with Sehwag, he said: "I am looking forward to that. We all know he is an attacking batsman. He can score a hundred in this format of the game too. He takes the pressure off his partner by scoring quickly."
For someone who is regarded as a Test specialist, switching from the longest format to the shortest is not going to be easy, but Pujara is ready to fight it out.
"I have been working hard on my batting. If you look at my scoring rate in the Test matches, once I reach 50, I tend to score quickly and my strike rate is also improving.
I am trying to improvise a bit. I tried getting inside the line of the ball and converting the yorkers bowled by Zaheer Khan in the match against Mumbai into full tosses," he explained. Pujara is also concentrating on his fielding and hopes to make an impact in this department too at IPL-7.