As a batsman I can’t feel bad for the bowlers, says Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara scored 193 runs in the first innings of the fourth Test against Australia at SCG. (Source: AP)

Cheteshwar Pujara spoke to BCCI.TV at the conclusion of Day 2 of the second Test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground where his 193 run knock took the game away from the hosts. Supported by Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 159 and Ravindra Jadeja’s 81 not out, India went on to score 622/7 for their first 600-plus score in a SENA country in a decade. Pujara’s tally in the series stands at 521 runs at an average of 74.72. To further exemplify his prowess in the middle, he has faced 1258 balls in the process.

In the interview, Pujara sheds light on the delivery which he finds difficult to navigate, whether he feels bad for bowlers, his most bizarre dismissal, how he unwinds after a day of cricket and who came up with ‘Pujara is coming’ theme on the lines of Game of Thrones.

Most important innings of your career

Adelaide, I would say because the first match of the series was the most important Test match. When you start off on winning note, when you are 1-0 up and then you move in the 4-match Test series, you’re always on top. You make sure, you can remain on top so I think the innings at Adelaide will still be very special for me and Test centuries are always special so MCG and SCG both are special but I would say Adelaide is the most important one for me.

What delivery would Pujara bowl to himself?

He has to bowl a googly which I can’t read as a bowler I wouldn’t know if I’m bowling a googly and as a batsman, I wouldn’t know if the ball is going to spin or it will be a googly. So it has to be a mystery ball.

An incident where bowlers have gotten tired of bowling to you?

That would have happened in first-class cricket. I’m sure, I’ve got three first-class triple hundreds so I’m assuming that some bowler would have told such thing. I can’t remember but I’m sure it has definitely happened in first-class cricket.

The longest you have batted till date

I think it is Ranchi where I faced more than 500 balls, I still remember that innings to bat about 5 or 6 sessions. Today, I was almost close to that but I had more runs in less number of balls. So, I think Ranchi is the longest I’ve played.

Does Pujara feel bad for the bowlers?

Cheteshwar Pujara walks off after he caught out for 193 runs against Australia on day 2 at Sydney. (Source: AP)

Obviously, he will be discouraged so my strength is my defence. Obviously, it has to be discouraging for a bowler if I’m defending well, if he’s trying to bowl at 150ks and if I can play that ball well, it’s his best ball. If I can defend that then he has to find another option. I think I’m winning that battle. As a batsman, I can’t feel bad but when I do, I feel bad for all bowlers.

The most silly way you have got out?

I’ve got out once in County cricket where I’ve handled the ball and I remember the dismissal very clearly. The ball was going to the stumps and I had no time to bring my bat down so I had to push the ball like this (gestures at pushing the ball away). And I was given out handling the ball.

Would you pay to watch yourself bat?

Maybe, yes, if it is an important Test match for the Indian team, I would. But, to be honest, off the field, I don’t like watching cricket much so whenever I’m done with cricket or whenever there’s end of day’s play I don’t watch cricket much.

Games that help you switch off between games?

It’s from childhood I used to love playing video games and I used to spend hours and hours in that. But later on I realised, it is not good to spend too many hours on that but one odd hour is fine in a day. Not every single day but to relax, so I still enjoy playing Playstation and I’m still very competitive like my on-field behaviour, I’m very competitive even off the field when I’m playing FIFA. Maybe, I’m more expressive when I’m playing FIFA.

How do badminton and table tennis help you?

It does and those two sports are my childhood favourite sports because I grew up playing TT and badminton when I used to practice at Railway Ground. And both the game I’m very good at and I can challenge any player in this team. You (Anand, the interviewer) still haven’t beaten me so you just have to get better at it. Please acknowledge that and when you win one single game, I’ll do another interview with you.

Pujara the ‘White Walker’ from Game of Thrones?

I think R Ashwin and Basu sir came up with that. Some guys also came up with ‘Winter Is Coming’, instead of ‘Winter is Coming’ they’ve started saying ‘Pujara Is Coming’. It is bit of a funny way to acknowledge what I’ve done, obviously this is fun part where players are trying to make fun and at the same time enjoy what I’ve been doing.

‘I’d love to play Test cricket in my next life’

Not really, I would still love to play Test cricket even in my next life, if Test cricket is going on. If I have an opportunity I would love to play Test cricket because that is the ultimate challenge I would say. In a T20 game you can get away with so many things but when it comes to your character, when it comes to your temperament, so many things which you can describe as a cricketer can only happen in Test cricket. So even in my next life I would prefer to be called as a Test player.