India in Zimbabwe 2013 July 15, 2013

Pujara keen on ODI dash

ESPNcricinfo staff

Cheteshwar Pujara has said that exposure to the one-day format at the international level would help him change people's perception about him being only a longer-format player. Pujara is part of India's squad that is scheduled to play five ODIs in Zimbabwe starting July 24 and is likely to make his ODI debut during the series.

"I think I have the basics, now it's just about shifting the gears at the right time, and that comes with more matches at the international level," Pujara told the Indian Express. "My technique is correct. Yeah, maybe at times, you need to learn more shots and you need to play according to the situation, but that comes with experience."

Pujara made a seamless entry into Test cricket after years of piling up runs in first-class cricket, and this time, the selectors have also put their faith on his equally impressive List A record and added him to the ODI squad. In 61 List A matches, Pujara has scored 2735 runs at an average of 56.97. He gave a glimpse of his talent during last year's Challenger Trophy, smashing 158*, 124* and 79 at a strike rate of 107. During his Test hundreds against Australia earlier this year, he maintained high strike rates too despite taking time to settle in, an approach, Pujara feels, would help in overseas conditions.

"With the two new balls, it does make a difference, and you have to be technically correct," he said. "If you are playing on a flat wicket, then it's a different story altogether, but when you are playing overseas, you can't play your shots from the beginning, and you need wickets at the end to accelerate. And with the new rules, you have five fielders inside (the circle), so even acceleration becomes easier once the ball is old. But you need to have wickets in hand."

Pujara will also lead the India A side in South Africa after the Zimbabwe tour and he said that the experience during the tour would be key ahead of India's Test tour to South Africa later this year.

"I have been to South Africa. I have played two Test matches, so I have some experience, but the A tour will be very helpful, for me and a few other players who will be part of the Indian team in November-December," he said. "It will really help to score some runs and get some experience in these conditions before the main series."