Cheteshwar Pujara might have endured a dismal time in the County Championship with Yorkshire but the India batsman remains confident in his preparation for the upcoming five-match Test series against England.
The 30-year-old’s second stint in England’s county cricket began on a poor note with the batsman being able to score only 172 runs in six first-class matches at an average of just 14.33. His white-ball showings for Yorkshire were much better though with the India man scoring a century among several other vital knocks in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
“As a batsman, you need a bit of luck especially at the start, which did not go my way. After a while, I started scoring runs in white-ball cricket,” Pujara stated in an interview with DNA.
Despite the low returns in red-ball cricket, the right-hander believes the county stint will do him a world of good in the Test series.
“It will definitely help. At the same time, when you are playing Test cricket, the bowlers are different, the pitches might be slightly different. The county experience will definitely help me in Tests,” he said.
“When I talk to Joe Root, I talk about international experience, the opponents, the different teams he has played against, as a batsman, as a cricketer how someone prepares, the kind of life one lives,” said Pujara.
“You always discuss normal things, not always about cricket. I don’t think there is anything extra you need to know. There is enough footage. You know what their bowling strengths and weaknesses are,” he added.
Pujara’s overseas form has been nothing to write home about for some time now but the batsman believes that the Indian side has understood the importance of his role in the Test format.
“There is nothing to fear. With the way I have performed for the Indian team, the way I have contributed, I don’t think I need to fear about anything,” the Rajkot-born batsman remarked.
“The team has understood the importance of my role and my contribution for the team. When it comes to Tests, I have a role to play for the team. Everyone understands that. The most important thing is to perform for the Indian team, which I have been doing,” he continued.
Pujara and the England team will lock horns with England in the first Test which gets underway at Edgbaston on August 1.
The Ranchi Test between India and Australia in 2017 was one of several matches brought into question by the documentary. One of the fixers in the documentary had claimed that two Aussie batsmen were paid off to bat slowly in a particular session.
Although the identity of the players was not revealed, the state of play implicated that the batsmen concerned were Steve Smith and Maxwell. The latter had gone on to register his maiden Test ton in the match which ultimately ended as a draw.
“I was shocked. I was a bit hurt by it as well,” Maxwell said about the allegations to SEN Radio.
“To have these allegations about your involvement in a game where you’ve only got happy memories about it, great memories… I still remember the feeling after hugging Steve Smith after getting my maiden Test hundred.
“To have that tarnished by these allegations was pretty devastating and obviously there’s absolutely no truth to it whatsoever. It was 100 per cent unfair, to tarnish one of best moments of my career was pretty brutal.”
Opening up on the subject of match-fixing, Maxwell stated that he had always reported anything suspicious to the anti-corruption officials while playing in T20 leagues around the world, including the IPL, where he led Kings XI Punjab as skipper in the 2009 edition.
“I’ve been very honest with them (anti-corruption officers) the whole way through with the IPL,” he said. “If I’ve ever seen anything untoward I always sat down with them, had a long coffee and just talked about everything to make sure nothing ever, ever comes back to me.
“If there’s anything slightly amiss, I always give them a call and make sure they have every bit of evidence they can possibly have. There’s some things you see in the game of cricket where you’re always just a little bit unsure. All the things you do hear in the game, and when it comes out later on you go, ‘Oh, I swear I could have noticed that while I was watching it’.
“It was probably easier when I was captain and I was able to see the way the game was going, and the instructions that I was giving players, and the way the game was moving, I could actually work it out a little better. There wasn’t really anything untoward in the season I was captain, but you could certainly tell from opposition stuff and that’s why I reported certain things.”
Continuing to defy the laws of nature, Sri Lanka veteran Rangana Herath keeps getting better and better with age. Long having lived in the shadows of the Muttiah Muralitharan, Herath has been writing his own piece of history ever since the legendary off-spinner retired from international cricket in 2010.
Now, at 40 years of age, Herath is ready to bid farewell to the world of international cricket himself after his latest exploits in Sri Lanka’s 2-0 Test clean-sweep over South Africa.
The left-arm spinner put in a bowling masterclass at Colombo on Monday to lead Sri Lanka’s march towards a 199-run win in the second Test. His 6-98 in the second innings extinguished any little hopes the Proteas had of staging a dramatic turnaround.
Following his 34th five-wicket haul in the format, Herath has reiterated his desire to hang up his boots following the conclusion of Sri Lanka’s three-Test home series against England which takes place in November this year.
“Very pleased. (Especially) winning the game and winning the series against the number two side. Wherever you go and take wickets, you like the ground. I like Galle and SSC (Sinhalese Sports Club) as hunting grounds. The harder ball gives a bit of assistance for the spinners. There was not much spin as the ball got softer, but we bowled well throughout the series,” the veteran said about his match-winning performance on Monday.
Reaffirming his desire to bow out at the top, Herath said: Everybody has a time to go and that’s why I have decided to stop playing cricket. There is one more series to go (against England). Hope to do well.”
The orthodox spinner has now picked up 430 wickets in 92 Test matches at an average of 27.95 and a strike-rate of 59.7. His 6-98 at Colombo is the 12th time that Herath has picked up five wickets or more in the fourth innings of a Test. His tally of 34 five-wicket hauls places him fifth in the all-time list behind Anil Kumble (35) and Sir Richard Hadlee (36).
The Sri Lankan’s 430 Test scalps is ninth best in the all-time wicket-takers list and five more dismissals in the England series could see the spinner climb to seventh ahead of Kapil Dev and Hadlee.