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Pujara: We are prepared for the pace test

Benoni: Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara weren’t in the line-up when the Indians were tormented by the South African pacers in the one-dayers. Perhaps that is the reason why the duo, who are set to play the Test series, are not bothered about the ODIs embarrassment and are instead focusing on keeping an uncluttered mind.

“I think you got to keep it simple because already there is a lot of talk going around… You got to go out there and be free in your mind and just see the ball and play… That’s the basic plan, as simple as that,” said Vijay.

“We came early and I have watched a couple games on the television, especially the first one at Wanderers. So I know what to expect,” Vijay added.

Interestingly, for both Vijay and Pujara, Dale Steyn is not the quickest pacer around. For Vijay it’s Australia’s Mitchell Johnson, Pujara was in a dilemma over Australia’s James Pattinson and South Africa’s Morne Morkel.

“When you are playing at the international level, you expect fast bowling and so it’s not about who is the fastest. But yes conditions are favourable for bowlers and so it is a little challenging for us. It will be a challenging tour for us, but we are well prepared for it,” said Pujara.

“I think the important thing here is that you need to adjust to the bounce and the lateral movement. Since I have played a couple of matches here, it will help me adjust better and I think the preparation time that we had here is also enough and should help us to perform better,” he added.

In the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, Pujara knows that he has a huge responsibility in the middle order. “The last one-and-a half years has been really good for me. I think I have become a matured player and playing against teams like Australia and England has helped me a lot. Even in the domestic matches, I have scored runs.” said Pujara.

“When you are playing abroad, it has to be the whole batting unit that takes the responsibility. Sometimes I am in form, sometimes someone else... It is up to the player in form to take the team through,” he said.

For Vijay, it’s the feel good factor. “For me, it’s the feel good factor inside... It’s not about how many runs I score, it’s more about how I bat. If am in good touch and hitting the ball well, that matters to me more,” he said.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, too, refused to read too much into India drubbing in the ODI series. “I never like to call any series disastrous… It is a big word for me and disastrous is something that you use when a World War occurs. But what happened was not great either,” he said.

“The ODI series loss has put everybody in a good frame of mind in terms of going out there and being prepared for what we’re going to get. We actually know what we will be getting out there. Everybody is desperate to do well and make sure that we can turn things around,” he said. (Agencies)