‘My Game Has Become Better’: Cheteshwar Pujara Adds Sweep Shot to His Repertoire, Targets India Comeback

Last Updated: February 14, 2024, 11:53 IST

Cheteshwar Pujara has scored 673 runs from six Ranji 2024 games so far. (Pic Credit: PTI)

Cheteshwar Pujara has scored 673 runs from six Ranji 2024 games so far. (Pic Credit: PTI)

Cheteshwar Pujara is currently busy representing Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy 2024, hoping to guide his domestic team to title win.

With the Indian team currently locked in an intense battle with England in a five-match Test series at home, Cheteshwar Pujara is slogging it out for Saurashtra in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, focused on pushing his domestic side into the knockouts.

It was in June last year that Pujara last turned out in India whites as the team lost to Australia in the ICC World Test Championship final. Pujara was dropped after the contest as India shifted focus on younger, upcoming stars with an eye on the future.

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That match was Pujara’s 103rd Test of an illustrious career. He’s 36 now and his style of play stands out as an anomaly in a world enamored by England’s ‘Bazball’.

Despite losing his spot, again, the veteran hasn’t lost hope with his passion for the game burning bright as ever. Why else would would he, in the autumn of his professional career, add both the sweep shots – regular and reverse – to improve his game?

“…this Ranji season, there have been some turners. Like that game against Rajasthan. On a rank turner, you don’t allow the bowler to settle down. And you have to keep reinventing yourself. In the last 18 months to two years, I have developed the regular sweep shot and the reverse sweep. And use them in the matches these days. Else, the bowlers will feel: oh he is going to step down to drive or go back. With these sweeps, my game has become better – more all-round,” Pujara told The Indian Express.

“If you don’t trust your defense, you will have fear of getting out on such pitches. You have to mix all of it together – attack, defense,” he added.

The manner in which England have challenged India in their ongoing tour and the way home batters have fared against the spinners, there have been murmurs of how the absence of a certain Pujara is being felt in their famed batting line-up.

Pujara though smartly dealt with the query, instead declaring himself ready for the India callback, if and whenever it comes his way.

“My proudest moment was to represent the Indian team. There is a pride when I walk out to bat for India, there is nothing bigger than that. That feeling that you can win games for your country, that you can make the difference – call it X-factor or a player who will fight for the country to win a game, there is no greater feeling than that on earth. Whenever the opportunity to play for India comes, I will be ready to play with that passion and pride that’s needed and with which I have always played. That will never change,” he said.

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