We have a clear game plan, says Cheteshwar

Given how India have been playing lately, the nature of the pitches is not going to be a concern for them, feels Cheteshwar Pujara.

By Our Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 3.01.18
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Cheteshwar Pujara

Calcutta: Given how India have been playing lately, the nature of the pitches is not going to be a concern for them, feels Cheteshwar Pujara.

Talking to reporters in Cape Town on Tuesday, Pujara, who's the mainstay of India's batting line-up in the longest version, said: "We are not bothered about the type of pitches they prepare. In other words, conditions really don't matter.

"We'll just try and focus on our own processes. We have a clear game plan irrespective of whether it is a flat wicket out there or if there is some grass on it... No matter what, we are prepared.

"When we were playing at home against Sri Lanka, we had the South Africa series on our minds. We had prepared a few things even in India. I don't think we are in any rush.

"We would just like to stay focused on the things that we want to achieve as a team."

As for the adjustments required to make in order to be successful as a batsman on hard, bouncy tracks, Pujara said: "It is important to leave the ball well, especially overseas.

"Once you move out of Asia, there is enough bounce on the pitches and that is the reason one should be able to leave the ball well."

For the Indians, it just doesn't matter as to the XI South Africa finalise for the first Test beginning at Newlands on Friday and whether that includes Dale Steyn or not. Instead, India are concentrating on their own fast bowling stocks that stand a good chance of establishing their lethality.

"It's up to South Africa as to what they want to do. It doesn't matter who plays for them because we should be well prepared. As a unit, out fast bowling is much better on this occasion. We have all the fast bowlers and they are quick, so we have that advantage this time around," Pujara said.

Nine Test series victories in a row have cemented India's lead at the top of the Test rankings. But their real battle begins with the upcoming Tests in South Africa, followed by those England and Australia.

According to Pujara, the team is striving for success and looks to spread its supremacy in overseas conditions as well. "Yeah, of course, we have that opportunity.

"If we do well here, in England and then in Australia, we certainly will be considered as one of the great Indian sides. This is the right time and there is no excuse because we have the experience and the team that can dominate overseas.

"So, if we do well, this will definitely be one of the best teams India has ever had," the top-order batsman emphasised. Pujara has been a part of the two previous occasions India toured South Africa - in 201-11 and 2013-14 . Like head coach Ravi Shastri, he too believes things will be different this time around.

"Our preparations have been fantastic so far and the entire team is very confident. We are here to win the series.

"The adjustment is both technical and mental. The good thing is that most of the players have been here before. I too have been here twice.

"It is about knowing your game and knowing the conditions. Therefore, you just need to apply yourself.

"There will be some bounce from the pitch and that is always a challenge, but this time we have had a good preparation, so we would like to back ourselves and try and execute things which we have done over the past one and a half months."

However, Pujara doesn't want to get carried away and start thinking about the first Test series triumph in South Africa and India's 10th series win in a row.

"We don't think of records. It comes naturally when you play good cricket and start winning Test matches and series. Our focus is to play good cricket ... We have never really spoken about records," he said.