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Important for youngsters to tour abroad - Pujara

Tariq Engineer

February 27, 2012

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Cheteshwar Pujara has trouble with a short ball from Jacques Kallis, dismissing Rahul Dravid, South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 2nd day, December 27, 2010
Cheteshwar Pujara: "Once you experience [foreign conditions], then you can make a few changes to your technique." © AFP
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Cheteshwar Pujara, the India batsman, has said that it is important for the country's young players to get a chance to tour abroad so they can learn how to adapt to different conditions. Pujara captained India A on their tour of England in 2010 as a 22-year-old, and it was his prolific form during that series that led to his inclusion in the India squad to face Australia later the same year.

"When we were playing against the England team, they had a few international players like Jonathan Trott [and Ian Bell] and a few fast bowlers [Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Sajid Mahmood] as well," Pujara told ESPNcricinfo. "Being a youngster, if you play them in their home conditions and you do well, you get confidence out of it."

With India's eight away Tests losses to England and Australia over the last nine months as a backdrop, the BCCI recently announced a number of India A and Under-19 tours of the West Indies, England, Australia and South Africa over the next few years. Pujara believes these tours will provide the players with the necessary experience they need to succeed overseas. "Once you experience [those conditions], then you can make a few changes to your technique," he said. "Once you face those conditions, then you know what to do."

Pujara, who also toured South Africa with the senior side in 2010-11, said one of the crucial lessons he has learned is that a batsman needs to get through the new ball in places like England and Australia - something that has continued to be a problem for batsmen on the ongoing tour down under - before attempting to play his shots. "When the ball gets old, then you can score runs easily. You can't play drives on the up when the ball is new." According to him, it takes three or four good net sessions, or a practice match, to switch from the more attacking approach used in the subcontinent to the more watchful approach that is needed when the ball is seaming and bouncing.

Having recently returned to action after more than six months away from cricket following knee surgery for an injury he picked up in the IPL last season, Pujara is eager to regain his place in the national side, but said for the moment he is concentrating solely on playing good cricket. He also rejected the notion that the next generation of players are more concerned about playing in the IPL than they are about international cricket. "If you look at the positive side of it, the IPL has given a lot of youngsters the opportunity to play international cricket," he said. "It is an opportunity for them to display their talents."

Another of the IPL's benefits is that it has given India's domestic players the chance to rub shoulders with some of the best international cricketers from around the world. Pujara - who on Monday joined Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir on by World Sport Group's player management programme - reckons this not only gives the players a chance to learn from team-mates they might otherwise never have met, but also provides a big boost of confidence given the high level of competition. As for players skipping international tours after picking up injuries during the IPL, Pujara said it was unfair to blame the IPL. "Fitness depends on the individual," he said. "Injuries can happen at any time, any format and in any country."

Edited by Nikita Bastian

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JackJak on (February 28, 2012, 15:26 GMT)

For tests its time to go back to Jaffer and make him captain for the next 2 years and form a new team 1.Jaffer 2. Mukund(openers), 3. Pujara 4. Kohli 5. Rohit Sharma 6. Manoj Tiwari(bowls leg spin), 7. Irfan Pathan/Pradeep Sangwan/Stuart Binny/Ashwin(as all rounders) 8. Saha/Rayudu as keepers( Saha seems to have decent technique for tests at least till we find a better option) 9. Varun Aaron/Umesh Yadav 10. Sudip Tyagi/Panjaj Singh/Manpreet Goni/Ishant Sharma(tall bowlers) 11. Rahul Sharma (accurate spinner and can create pressure)

Posted by AsherCA on (February 28, 2012, 13:54 GMT)

Gizza, Pujara has a huge -ve on his resume, don't expect him to be in the India squad in the near future - he does not play for CSK. Indian Team management - BCCI Chairman - N Srinivasan (Also owner CSK), Selection Committee Chairman K Srikanth (Brand Ambassador, CSK) & India Captain M S Dhoni (Also captain CSK). We all saw how they insisted on keeping good-for-nothing Dravid, Sachin & Lakshman over the last 8 tests...I am willing to bet - if they had managed to slip Badri / Raina into the 15 ahead of Rohit / Rahane, Lakshman would have been replaced.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (February 28, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

What Pujara says is absolutely correct. It is just as well that the BCCI have suddenly realised the need to have as many A team and U-19 tours as possible to enable the batsmen's techniques to improve.I found it strange that in the last couple of years, such tours by an Indian team became rare.They used to go visiting in the earlier years. I remember Dravid and Ganguly were great successes in England on their maiden tours probably because of such exposure. They failed on their first visits to Australia because playing on Oz pitches required a different technique. But they played superbly on their next visit to Australia. That is what can be achieved if young cricketers play on foriegn wickets early in their lives.In fact even bowlers can improve phenomenally. Kumble failed on his first visit to Australia but took 24 wickets in just 4 Tests on his next visit there.The point is that players must pick up the nuances of playing in different conditions not be enslaved to technique alone.

Posted by Rashidf on (February 28, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

My test team Jaffar, Gambhir, Kohli,Pujara,Rahane,Kaif,Saha,Ashwin,Zaheer, Munaf, Harbajan,Irfan, Vinay,Ojah and Mukund. Gambhir should be the Captain.

Posted by mehulmatrix on (February 28, 2012, 7:21 GMT)

The point about exposure in different conditions is very apt and the board should arrange more tours ahead. Also making different pitches within India itself is important i think. His statement for IPL, reflects the attitude for not missing the glamor and money quotient. Exposure and interaction can be obtained by more oversea tours and joining clubs in different country. No need of IPL for that. Also i dont think there are many players who have graduated from IPL to International platform from any country. For India itself IPL doesn't seem to be doing any good, we have been struggling in Int T20's since a good time. No proper rest and also increases the chances of injuries.Hope he doesnt get carried away by glamor and too much money, he can be a rahul dravid of future!

Posted by   on (February 28, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

well i think he has said the right think if we remember well even he dint do well in SA but showed good technique and i am sure he will do well in future and now bcci has said they will reintroduce A tours let see what happens

Posted by TheTrueSport on (February 28, 2012, 2:15 GMT)

ipl has not produced a single player worthy of contention for inclusion in the national squad. domestic cricket has done this job

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 28, 2012, 1:57 GMT)

Good luck Che Pujara ;) You,along with Kohli,Rohit&Rahane will form the future test batting core.My test team for the next tour will be : Gambhir,Rahane,Kohli,Rohit,Pujara,Sehwag/Tiwari,Saha,Pathan,Ashwin,Umesh,ZK Sehwag needs to be given one last chance in tests in middle order and if still doesnt perform,Tiwari needs to be groomed.Pujara and Rohit have the temparement and talent to excel in tests while Rahane&Kohli have the pedigree&will power respectively to succeed at this level.Ind cricket batting is in good hands with these youngsters provided they are given the longest possible rope and confidence.A pro-active captain like Gambhir will be useful in these times of transition too!

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 28, 2012, 1:43 GMT)

Kick out the non-performers like Sehwag, Laxman, Dravid and 10dulkar, and give chances to youngsters like Rahane, Mukund, Pujara, Manoj, Saha, etc.

Posted by Gizza on (February 28, 2012, 0:15 GMT)

He seems to have a better attitude than Raina and Rohit which is a positive sign for Indian cricket.

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