Cheteshwar Pujara, whose maiden Test century in England on Friday rescued India and helped them take a 27-run first-innings lead, spoke to Sky Sports this morning about how he had never lost the belief in his batting despite his lean form at Yorkshire and sitting out the first Test at Edgbaston.
After Edgbaston, does he feel a bit of a scapegoat, as someone who constantly has to prove himself?
Well, sometimes you just have to accept the fact. Sometimes if you are not part of the team it is not easy to sit out. But I just try and focus on things which I can control and focus on my batting, focus on the things which I can improve as a cricketer. And rather than thinking about whether I have to prove to anyone or whether I have to perform in each and every game, I just try and focus on my batting (and) what I need to do in the middle, rather than thinking about I need to score each and every game. Because when I was batting there, I wasn't even looking at the scoreboard. So that is something which helps me focus on things I need to do rather than worrying about the outcome.
On the struggle at Yorkshire where he averaged 14 in county cricket
I wanted to score some runs for Yorkshire, which didn't happen. But I always knew the way I was batting, even when I was playing for Yorkshire I got runs in white-ball cricket, but when it came to red-ball cricket I was batting well, but runs didn't come through. I was still confident. It showed here because, as I said, my preparation was up to the mark and my work ethics. I believe in preparation and as long as you put in the efforts in the nets and you have self-belief then you can always pull off.
Was he trying to get bit further forward than perhaps earlier in the series?
Even the pitch is such where you can do that. It has slowed down a bit. Balls are keeping low. So most of the balls are hitting the stumps which is a good thing for our fast bowlers today because not many balls will go above the stumps. Yeah, that is the reason I made some adjustments.