India’s Test batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara personifies mental toughness and dogged determination in the middle and he says those very traits helped him beat the “lockdown blues” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rajkot-based cricketer got back to training at the nets this week, three months after helping Saurashtra win their maiden Ranji Trophy title. Though coronavirus cases continue to rise rapidly in India and uncertainty remains around resumption of professional cricket, Pujara said he hit the nets at just the right time.
“You have to start at some point and it is important. If you are going to the ground, you are getting used to the sun and outdoor environment. Most players have been indoors for such a long time,” Pujara told PTI in an interview.
“Initially it is just about feeling the ball and as it is, there is plenty of time before cricket starts. I don’t see any series happening for the next two-three months, so one has to take things gradually.” Pujara said his mental fortitude helped him immensely while he was confined to his house.
Pujara, who is training at his academy with some of his Saurashtra teammates, will be gradually increasing the intensity of the net sessions. For now, he is batting for 20-25 minutes thrice a week.
“Once you are outdoors it is a different feeling altogether. Training here is obviously not the same as you get in a team environment but at least you are doing something to get yourself going.