Dhoni said as I had scored a ton, I should hold the cup: Pujara
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He might still have a fair way to go before cementing his spot down at No 3, but Cheteshwar Pujara certainly took some firm steps in that quest during India's 2-0 series triumph against New Zealand. Here he tells The Indian Express about his detailed preparation prior to making his Test return, the confidence-boosting 'A' tour to the Caribbean and the experience of scoring a maiden Test ton—not to forget his over-enthusiastic well-wishers. Excerpts:
How important was the New Zealand series for you?
It was very important because there was a lot of expectation around me. I also had to prove to myself that I belonged at this level. I did taste brief success before getting injured. But the 18-month gap between my third and fourth Tests was enormous. I am really glad to have scored my maiden Test ton on my return.
How nervous were you going into this series?
I was not overly nervous. I knew after the tour to the West Indies with the India A team that I will get my chance soon.The way I batted in the Caribbean was an encouraging sign. So there was not much to be worried about. I had also made sure to get some match practice prior to the NZ series by playing one game for Saurashtra in the Buchi Babu Trophy.
How much of a confidence-booster was the 'A' tour to Caribbean?
The conditions over there were challenging and it was an ideal situation for me to judge my form. Being the captain of the team also helped greatly as the role demanded extra responsibility. The pitches that we played on against the West Indies helped me strengthen various facets of my batting. I believe that my preparation during the IPL for that tour held me in great stead, and made me a more compact batsman.
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