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Desperate Pujara turns to bowling to make ODI squad

March 13, 2014 11:32 IST

Has Pujara turned to bowling to make ODI squad?

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In his quest to find a spot in India's One-Day International side, Cheteshwar Pujara has also started to work on his bowling in order to fit the bill.

The right-hander believes a good showing in the forthcoming Indian Premier League could help him secure the berth in the Indian team for the World Cup next year, to be played in Australia and New Zealand.

"I have also started bowling in the nets so that I can contribute as a part-time bowler. I want to help my team with part-time bowling if the captain wants me to. I am looking to bring improvement in my game -- most importantly, playing on the rise.

"I am targeting specific areas, which include analysis of my batting and what mistakes I am committing in the middle. It will help me in the longer run," Pujara said.


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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'I am looking forward to have a successful IPL'

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Pujara was included in the Indian squad for the recently-concluded Asia Cup but failed to make it to the playing eleven, leaving many shocked, including batting legend Sunil Gavaskar.

Ever since making his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in August, Pujara has only played two one-dayers in the limited opportunities he has got in the 50-over format.

"If I can prove myself in the IPL, I am confident that I can get success in ODIs too. I had played a couple of good innings for my last franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore which proved that I have the talent to excel in the shortest format also. It's all about getting more opportunities in the coming future. I am looking forward to have a successful IPL," the middle-order batsman said.

 


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: BCCI

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Pujara has an impressive record in List A matches

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Former captain Sunil Gavaskar slammed the team management for not including Pujara and medium pacer Ishwar Pandey in the match against minnows Afghanistan, and even went on to say that the fear of reserve players succeeding over "current favourites" prompted the management to play the same team.

The Indian batsmen were found wanting against quality pace attacks in South Africa and New Zealand, but the team management decided not to tinker with the 'balanced' side.

Pujara has all the makings of becoming one of India's most consistent players in both forms of the game, provided he gets the opportunity to showcase his batting prowess in the ODI format, too. He averages 55 in List A matches and his impressive strike rate resulted in many double and triple hundreds.


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

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'I have scored runs at an impressive strike rate in domestic matches'

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His solid performance in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy 2012-13, where he hit two hundreds and a fifty in three innings, led to his call-up for India's tour of Zimbabwe, but the Saurashtra batsman didn't get enough opportunities thereafter.

With the focus on building the team for next year's World Cup in Australia-New Zealand, Pujara knows that he has limited time on his hand.

"It's all about getting more and more opportunities. I have the ability to perform in all three formats of the game," he said.

Pujara has become a permanent fixture of India's Test side, succeeding Rahul Dravid at No.3. He has an outstanding Test average of around 60, with six hundreds and four fifties.

He has been signed up by Kings XI Punjab for the seventh edition of IPL, which starts next month.

"It's a perception. I have a good ODI domestic record. I have scored runs at an impressive strike rate in domestic matches. So, I don't think it would be a problem for me adjusting to the T20 format," he said.


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: BCCI

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