Cheteshwar Pujara eyes long career for India

Cheteshwar Pujara has played three Test matches for India Getty Images

Mumbai: Feb 27, 2012

If given a chance, talented India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara is confident of “doing well in overseas conditions” as he feels he has requisite experience of playing abroad.

“I have had enough exposure playing in South Africa and have toured with the ‘A’ team to UK. Therefore, I believe that I have enough experience to perform in overseas conditions,” said the 24-year-old cricketer.

Pujara, who recently returned to domestic cricket after a long lay-off due to a knee injury, said his focus is to score runs in the domestic circuit to reclaim his place in the Indian squad post his Test debut in October 2010, against Australia.

“I want to make it to the Indian team. I want to do well in the domestic matches and score runs. I will try hard to make it to the Indian team as it is my dream. I want to play for as long as Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar,” he said at a press conference.

The Saurashtra skipper, who has represented India in three Tests scoring 107 runs, has been a prolific scorer over the last few seasons in first-class cricket in which he has over 4,300 runs and a triple ton to his name.

Commenting on India’s poor performance in the tri-series in Australia, Pujara said the team has done well in the ODIs in the past and that he is confident of a good show in the next month’s Asia Cup.

“I’m very positive about the Indian team. We have won the World Cup and we are the best ODI side in the world. With the Asia Cup coming up, I am confident of a good show,” he added.

Asked about the clamour over the demand for the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar from one-day internationals, Pujara said the batting maestro is a legend of the game and the decision should be left on his will and wish.

“He is a legend while I’m a youngster. It’s not appropriate that I comment on him. The longer he is in the team, the better it is for the country. The decision of retirement should rest solely on him,” he said.

Leading sports marketing company World Sport Group (WSG) today signed Pujara under its player management programme for two years, making him the third Indian cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir to do so.

“It’s an honour for me to represent such a big company. As a cricketer, one has to focus on his game. Through this deal, I won’t have to worry about anything else,” Pujara said.

SG country head and senior vice president Harish Krishnamachar said Pujara represented the younger generation of Indian cricketers.

The right-handed batsman first came to the fore during the 2006 Under-19 World Cup where he was the highest run-getter and aggregated 349 runs at an average of 116. (PTI)