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'Stint in county cricket will give Cheteshwar valuable experience'

August 22, 2014 13:09 IST

'Stint in county cricket will give Cheteshwar valuable experience'

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Haresh Pandya for Rediff.com in Rajkot

Cheteshwar Pujara may be headed for Leicestershire, reports Haresh Pandya.

If all goes well, Cheteshwar Pujara, who had a dismal series in England, will play in the English county championship in September.

Three counties are in the fray to sign up Pujara.

Pujara, who is not in India's One-day or Twenty20 teams that will take on England next week, has been granted permission by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to play county cricket though he is yet to sign a contract with an English club.

Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire are said to be interested in Pujara, despite his awful show in the five Test series.

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Image: Cheteshwar Pujara.
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images

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Haresh Pandya for Rediff.com

Highly reliable sources told this correspondent that former English skipper Michael Vaughan was keen that Yorkshire sign the Saurashtra batsman.

But the county of Wilfred Rhodes, Fred Trueman and Geoffrey Boycott -- for which Sachin Tendulkar played a season in 1990 -- confirmed it would not sign up Pujara.

Though there is no word from Derbyshire -- for which off-spinner Srinivas Venkataraghavan played two seasons from 1973 to 1975 -- Leicestershire seems interested in signing the Indian No 3. Its chairman, Paul Heywood told ESPNcricinfo that the county is 'in contact' with Pujara.

Virender Sehwag played the 2003 season for Leicestershire.

Widely expected to score above 500 runs in the series, Pujara managed only 222 runs in 10 completed innings..

Before the first Test against England, Pujara's average hovered around 60 runs per innings. Now it is a shade under 50!

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Image: Cheteshwar Pujara prepares to bat in the nets.
Photographs: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

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Haresh Pandya for Rediff.com

"The important thing is that he will get to play a few matches in England after his shocking failure in the Test series," said Bipin Pujara, the stylish batsman's uncle and a former Ranji Trophy player.

"A stint in county cricket will give him valuable experience of slower wickets and varied English weather. It should enable him to rectify the mistakes he was seen making in the Test series and sharpen his technique," Bipin Pujara added.

Cheteshwar returned from England on Wednesday. He is biding his time in the comfort of his spacious Rajkot home, discussing with his father and coach, Arvind Pujara, what exactly went wrong for him in the Tests.

Not only has he to sign a contract with an English club, Pujara also has to obtain a British work visa.

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Image: Cheteshwar Pujara bowled by Stuart Broad.
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

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Haresh Pandya for Rediff.com

While Cheteshwar was not ready to speak about what happened in the Test series or even disclose the county he will represent, his father Arvind conceded he was "shocked" by his son's unexpected failure.

"This was something totally unexpected," Arvind Pujara said. "He had scored so many runs in England in the past while leading the India 'A' team. I was confident that he would score many runs in England."

"But there is no point crying over spilled water," papa Pujara added. "Full credit must be given to James Anderson and Stuart Broad who bowled beautifully throughout the series. Chintu (Cheteshwar's nickname) and I will now discuss his technique; whether it was right against Anderson and Broad, why and where he failed. I can tell you both Chintu and Virat Kohli will bounce back and prove their worth against stronger Test teams."


Image: Arvind Pujara, Cheteshwar Pujara's father.
Photographs: Haresh Pandya

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