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Friday, 13 December 2013

Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay bring freshness & experience

While India’s ODI batsmen have being tested by the South African bowlers, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay sweated it out in the nets for days. The two have got enough time to adapt to the conditions and prepare themselves for the two Tests thoroughly. Also, they are the only two Indian batsmen who have played Tests before in South Africa. (Also Read: Zaheer Khan, R Ashwin promise fire & guts)
As the team strives to leave the ODI debacle behind them and focus on the Tests, Pujara and Vijay will have a significant role to play in lifting the morale and confidence of their fellow batsmen.
"I think the important thing here is that you need to adjust to the bounce and the lateral movement that is there on the wicket," Pujara said. "So since I have played a couple of matches here it will help me adjust better and I think the preparation time that we had here is also enough and should help us to perform better,” said the batsman who hasn’t yet tasted a Test defeat in the country – out of the two matches he played here on the last tour, India won one and drew another.
Vijay, who was part of the winning side in his only Test in South Africa, felt shutting out the distractions will be the key. "I personally think you have got to keep it simple because already there is a lot of talk going around," Vijay said. "You have got to go out there and be free in your mind, and just see the ball and play. That's the basic plan, as simple as that."
Along with quality time in the nets, Pujara also has the advantage of runs under his belt at the domestic level. He notched up two centuries in three Ranji Trophy matches before flying to South Africa and said it all counts as far as the confidence is concerned.
"When you have some runs in the last innings, it does feel good," Pujara said. "The kind of runs that I had in the last innings, the time I spent at the crease, it really helps me to improve my concentration and when you have the best of concentration it's easy to adjust to the conditions. Obviously, confidence-wise it helps."
Vijay, on the other hand, hasn’t had a very fluent run of form of late, scoring only 118 runs from three Ranji Trophy games. But the opener is not brooding over his lack of runs. "For me, it's a feel-good factor inside," Vijay said. "It's not about how many runs I score, it's more about how I bat. If am in good touch and hitting the ball well, that matters to me more. In that respect, I am satisfied at where I am. Looking forward to whatever I can do in South Africa."
This series will mark the beginning of the new era for Indian batting, as they will take field without the guiding hands of Sachin Tendulkar and co. Pujara said it’s a new challenge for the young Indian batsmen to carry the team on their shoulders.
"When you are playing at the international level you expect fast bowling, so it is not about who is the fastest," Pujara said, "but yeah conditions are favourable for the bowlers and so it is a little challenging for us, but that is the important part as a youngster because when you want to grow as a cricketer you want to face challenges and learn out of it. It will be a challenging tour for us, but we are well prepared for it.
"The last one-and-a-half year has been really good for me," Pujara said. "Playing the Test format and scoring those runs. I think I have become a matured player, and playing against teams like Australia and England has helped me a lot because they have very good fast bowling. I think the kind of runs you score in one-one-and-a-half years when you're in good form, you've got a lot of confidence. Even in the domestic matches I have scored runs. I have very good confidence, which helps a cricketer prepare himself mentally rather than what he does on the field. When you are mentally prepared there are some adjustments, which need to be done on the field. Then you are in the best frame of mind, you have the best chance of preparing yourself on the field."


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