HomeCricketNewsPujara opens on exclusion from Test squad saying 'I still have a...

Pujara opens on exclusion from Test squad saying ‘I still have a lot to contribute’

The exclusion from the Test squad from the West Indies tour 2023, had questioned Pujara’s Test career, but still didn’t give up as he believes he still has a lot of game left inside him.

Cheteshwar Pujara opens on exclusion from Test squad

Cheteshwar Pujara believes that he has a lot to offer to India’s Test side even though he admits that exclusion from the West Indies tour made him doubt himself.

Pujara was India’s second-highest run-scorer with 928 runs with an average of 32.00 on the last WTC cycle. Virat Kohli stands first on the list with 932 runs with an average of 32.13.

His last test was at the World Test Championship final in June and was not picked for the side’s tour of the West Indies, their campaign for the new WTC cycle. In the WTC finals against Australia, he scored only 14 and 27 runs.

“There have been ups and downs in the last few years and it tests you as a player because having played say more than 90 Test matches when I got dropped, I still had to prove myself, I still had to prove that I belonged there. It’s a different type of challenge,” Pujara told.

“Sometimes it plays around with your ego. Having been successful at the international level for so many years, there are still doubts – are you’re good enough. And if you have to prove yourself again and again, [you wonder] whether it is worth it.”

“I keep telling myself that I know I belong there,” Pujara said. “I know that the kind of contributions I have made to Indian cricket, I still have a lot to contribute.

Cheteshwar Pujara (image : BCCI)

I was given an interesting stat some time ago where I was told that whenever I have scored more than 70 or 80 runs for the Indian team, it is about 80% of the times India has gone on to win… or we haven’t lost that particular Test match. So I know if I score runs for the Indian team, most times we are on the winning side.”

He has been dropped for the second time in 18 months he was also left out of the 2021-2022 tour of South Africa.

Recently he has scored 133 runs for West Zone against Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy and unbeaten centuries against Northants and Somerset in the One-Day Cup for Sussex.

“I enjoy playing cricket for Sussex, so when I score runs here, it gets noticed back home,” Pujara said. “That is not the reason why I play for Sussex. I play for Sussex because I enjoy playing cricket here. But the amount of runs I score here or in domestic cricket back home, it always helps me get back into the team.”

Pujara India’s eighth-highest run scorer in Tests with 7195 runs and an unbeaten high score of 206.

“In my cricketing career, I have been put under pressure so many times that I’ve lost my spot in the team. But you just try and play for the team. You don’t try and play for your spot,” Pujara said.

“I would keep it very simple because if you play for your spot, you’re just another selfish cricketer who is just being there in the playing XI, playing for the spot but not contributing to the team.

“If I am not good enough contributing to the team, I am happy sitting at home rather than scoring. As an example, If I get out on 20 or 30 it is not that as a batsman you get out [on purpose], but if you score another 20-30 more and end up scoring a fifty and India doesn’t go on and win the Test match, is that going to be helpful for the India team? No.

“It might be helpful for me as an individual but I never have that thought process. I am someone who will think that I should be good enough to win games for the India team. Not just try to survive and be part of the playing XI. If you want to be on the team, you should want to make a difference. Not just be in the team.”

India is set to begin their Asia Cup 2023 campaign on August 30, 2023 and India will have their first match with arch-rivals Pakistan on September 2, at Pallekele International Stadium Cricket.

I'm Johi, a dedicated cricket news writer! With a passion for the game and a keen eye for detail, I would always love to bring you the latest updates, insights, and analysis from the world of cricket & Football with a positive entertainment.

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