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It's irrelevant whether I perform in IPL: Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara's desperation to make it to India's limited-overs side was apparent when he recently revealed that he was practicing bowling in the nets.

The Saurashtra youngster did not play a single match in the Asia Cup, including the dead rubber against Afghanistan — a move that came in for severe criticism from Sunil Gavaskar who was on commentary duty in Bangladesh.

The forthcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) presents Pujara with another opportunity to establish his T20 and ODI credentials, but the Rajkot lad, who will turn up for Kings XI Punjab, is not sweating over the prospects of the tournament being a gamechanger for his limited-overs career.

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"IPL is always a huge opportunity and a great platform for all players. But that's not the end of it. It is irrelevant whether I perform in it or not. I want to work as hard as I can.

"The more matches I play, the better will be my exposure against international bowlers. So that will definitely help me in all formats," said Pujara on the sidelines of a Gillette event yesterday.

Regarding him taking up bowling in the nets, Pujara clarified that it was not something new to him. "I would always bowl in my junior cricket days. I had two knee injuries (in IPL-2 and 4) and that stopped me from bowling.

But now I am fully fit and there is no restriction. I thought of starting it again and it was a good way to learn something about the game. I have always been working on my batting. So, it was time to learn or develop something new.

"I am hopeful I will get an opportunity in limited overs cricket soon. If you can contribute in many ways then you are more useful to the team," Pujara said.

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