Mumbai (Maharashtra): Considering the Test format as the ultimate challenge for any cricketer, Cheteshwar Pujara on Friday said if he had to get an opportunity, he would still like to play the longest format.
“If test cricket still goes on and if I had to get an opportunity, I would still like to play Test cricket… because that is the ultimate challenge I would say. In T20 format you can get away with so many things. But when it comes to your character, temperament or other things as a cricketer you can describe, it can be challenged only in Test cricket,” the top-order batsman said in an exclusive BCCI video.
Pujara, who blazed 123 off 246 balls, helped his side to a 31-run victory over Australia in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval. Talking about his special Test century, the 30-year-old feels that the ton he smashed at Adelaide is the most important one for him.
“Adelaide I would say… because the first match of the series was the most important. When you start off on a winning note, when you are 1-0 up and when you move into the four-Test series you are always on top and you make sure that you remain on top. So, I think the innings at Adelaide will still be very special for me and yeah Test century is always special. So Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground both are special but I would say Adelaide is the most important for me,” he said.
In spite of going down in the second Test at Perth, Pujara made a solid comeback in the third Test at Melbourne. Another centurion knock (106 off 319 balls) from him in the first innings, assisted India to outplay Australia by 137 and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. An unstoppable Pujara in his first innings strengthened his side with his 193 off 373 balls in the fourth Test at Sydney.
When asked about his longest stand on the crease, the top-order batsman said: “In Ranchi, where I faced more than 500 balls. I still remember that innings where I had to bat about five or six sessions. Today (at Sydney) I was almost close to that but I had more runs in less number of balls. So I think Ranchi is the longest I have played.”
“My strength is my defense. It has to be discouraging for a bowler if I am defending well. If he is trying to bowl at 150 km/h, if I can play that bowl well then it is his best bowl. If I can defend that then he has to find another option. I think I am winning that battle. As a batsman, I can’t feel bad but when I am fielding I do feel for our bowlers,” he added.
India declared their first innings on 622 for the loss of seven wickets at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
In reply, Australia made 24 for no loss at stumps. Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja are holding the crease for Australia on respective scores of 19 and 5. A 2-1 up India are eyeing to win and register a historic win on Australian soil.