Mumbai: India and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has said that he feels for right-handed batter Hanuma Vihari as he should have been a part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.
Pujara was picked up by CSK for INR 50 lakh in the players’ auction which was held in February this year while Hanuma Vihari went unsold in the auction and he did not find any takers.
“Absolutely. I’m really pleased that what I’ve done for the Indian team is noticed and I got results for that. I was told when I was picked, all the franchises clapped in the auction room. I feel that when you are doing something for the Indian team, people love it, they know the value I bring in. Not just the franchises, almost all my India team-mates were really happy for me. Last few years I’m the only one who has been missing out on playing in the IPL from the Indian team,” Pujara told ESPNcricinfo.
“The only guy missing out at this stage is Hanuma Vihari. I feel for him. He was previously part of the IPL. I feel that he should also be part of the IPL,” he added.
Both Pujara and Vihari had displayed good performances in India’s 2-1 win over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. After picking Pujara, CSK management had revealed that they wanted to reward Pujara with an IPL contract for his performances in Test cricket.
When asked about he felt being picked by CSK for the upcoming IPL, Pujara said: “I was really pleased to be back in the IPL again. This is something which you don’t want to miss out, as an Indian player. Usually, I play county cricket, but last year because of Covid-19 I missed out on that. When you love playing this game you want to play it. And when it’s IPL you want to be part of it. It is one of the best leagues in the world. Yes, playing for the Indian team is a different thing entirely, but when it comes to being part of the IPL, any cricketer would want to be part of it. I am no exception.”
Pujara also said that he is not nervous about playing for the MS Dhoni-led side this season and he said that he would be giving his 100 per cent if given a chance in the playing XI.
“Not really. I am very confident now and that is because of Test cricket. That confidence comes from my hard work and I just want to do the hard yards right from my first net session. You have a lot of pressure in the Test format, and the overseas tours are the most challenging. So when you have been part of that, I don’t think there is any nervousness about playing in the IPL. There will be a different kind of pressure: to play this format, to chase successfully. There is a different challenge to this format,” said Pujara.
“No, it’s not. You should not be worried about the outcome. You should be doing the right thing to be successful – whether you talk about hard work, discipline, dedication. When you are ready to do that, stick with that, the outcome usually [takes care of itself]. I am focused on what I have to do as a player,” he added.
The IPL 2021 will commence on April 9 with Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) locking horns in the tournament opener. CSK will play its first match against Delhi Capitals on April 10 at the Wankhede Stadium.