Gautam Gambhir also elaborated on the importance of County Cricket (Image Courtesy: Getty)
Gautam Gambhir also elaborated on the importance of County Cricket (Image Courtesy: Getty)

Gautam Gambhir minced no words and made it clear that playing one format has helped Cheteshwar Pujara rise as India’s best batter in Test cricket, and had he been vying a spot for ODIs and T20Is, things could have been more difficult for him. Gambhir went to an extent of calling Pujara more consistent in Test cricket than even Indian captain Virat Kohli. He also mentioned that Pujara’s stint with county cricket has only added to his overall development as a batsman.  Watch Cheteshwar Pujara reveal that he is learning the ‘art of sledging’

“One thing which is really important to note is that he is playing only one form of the game. He can actually keep his mind pretty stable while playing and preparing only for five-day cricket. Had he been playing One-Dayers and T20Is as well, it would have been much more difficult for him, because sometimes you have to change your mind-set. When you’re not scoring runs in One-Day cricket, you go into a Test series not with the same confidence. But when you’re playing just one format, it is easier to be consistent than someone who is playing all three formats.

“He’s a quality player, no doubt about that, but playing only one format definitely goes in his favour. And also playing County cricket ensures that his focus is always on red-ball cricket,” said Gambhir in an interaction with DNA.

Elaborating more on benefits of county cricket, Gambhir added, “It keeps you in that frame of mind of playing four-day cricket and red-ball cricket as well, which is of a lot of help when you go into a Test match. You don’t get enough red-ball cricket in India, especially when the IPL (Indian Premier League) is on. And, India play a lot of white-ball cricket. So, the only way you can get into that zone is either play county cricket or keep preparing with the red ball. But the best preparation is going to county and getting four-day matches, also under difficult conditions because in England the ball does a lot of things. So from county cricket when you come to Sri Lankan conditions, it always gets easier.”

‘Unfortunate Pujara’

Gambhir feels that Pujara deserves much more accolades than what he receives as India as a country is more obsessed with white-ball cricket.

“That’s the unfortunate thing. We don’t give too much importance to Test cricket, and that is the reason. It is all about white-ball cricket and what people do in ODIs and T20s. But yes, when it comes to red-ball cricket, he (Pujara) is right at the top. Maybe far more consistent than Kohli or Dhawan,” the Delhi left-hander added.