IPL: Cheteshwar Pujara banks on Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma cues
Cheteshwar Pujara’s reputation as a Test specialist had hampered his IPL prospects for the last few years. But India’s No.3 is now ready to turn the corner for CSK in the upcoming edition, having picked up cues from the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Pujara, who went unsold for a number of years, was picked up by CSK at his base price of Rs 50 lakh during the auction this February and he’s now ready with a changed mindset and approach towards the shortest format.
Asked about his strike rate which will always be highlighted because of his lack of power-hitting, Pujara said that he will rely on timing like his national team skipper Kohli or his deputy Rohit. “When it comes to strike rate, yes, I agree that I’m not a power-hitter. But at the same time, you learn from players like Virat and Rohit.
“Rohit is not purely a power-hitter, but he is one of the best timers of the ball I have ever seen in the shorter formats,” Pujara told ESPNCricinfo.
Even someone like New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson could be a great example to emulate since he plays all cricketing shots, Pujara added. “You learn from players like Kane and even Steve Smith.
“All of them score runs by just playing cricketing shots and at the same time, they will be innovative,” Pujara said.
“I also have that mindset, that if I want to be successful, I also need to be innovative. But you can still score runs by playing proper cricketing shots.
“You do need to get better at generating power. I won’t deny that, but ultimately, cricketing sense is what I feel will be your main strength.”
The 33-year-old admitted that during the early stages of his career, he used to feel that tweaking his game to suit the needs of T20 will hamper his Test cricket but not anymore. “What I realised over a period of time is my natural game and my strengths will never go away,” Pujara said.
And what helped him were words of wisdom from Rahul Dravid, when they had interacted many moons back.
“I got this advice from Rahulbhai long ago, but I would still like to mention it,” he said.
“He told me that my natural game will not change even if I try playing different shots,” Pujara added.