X Close

First-class stint helped me to return to form and make India comeback: Pujara


LEICESTER: India's star batter Cheteshwar Pujara said his first-class stints in Ranji Trophy and County Championships helped him find his lost rhythm and stage a comeback to the national side.

The 34-year-old Pujara, who was left out of India's home Test series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, forced his way back into the national team for the fifth Test against England after scoring 720 runs in just 5 matches with an outstanding average of 120 for Sussex.

While in the Ranji Trophy, Pujara scored an 83-ball 91 against Mumbai, he hit four centuries, including two double centuries for Sussex in Division Two County Championships.

"It's about playing as many first-class games as possible and for me, that experience was very important. When you want to get back into form, when you want to find your rhythm when you have that concentration, it is important to play some long innings" Pujara told BCCI TV.

"So, when I was playing for Sussex, I could do that. When I had my first big knock against Derby, then I felt that my rhythm was back, my concentration and everything was falling in place.

Yeah, I had a very good time with Sussex," he added.

Pujara said that he was confident of performing in the county games, as he was already in good form in the Ranji Trophy.

"I played three games for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy. Even there, I found my rhythm and I knew that I was batting well," Pujara said.

"It was about getting a big score and so when I had that in my first game, I knew that everything is back to normal now. (I was) finding my footwork, the back lift was coming along well."

Pujara along with wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant, and pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna will be representing Leicestershire in the four-day warm-up match starting on Thursday.

India will take on England in the rescheduled fifth Test match starting July 1 at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.