Cheteshwar Pujara is gearing up for his return to the IPL in the upcoming 2021 edition, from April 9. The Test specialist was last seen in the IPL during the 2014 edition where he represented the Kings XI Punjab (now known as Punjab Kings).
Pujara has often seen him being labelled as a Test player and his slow approach with the bat in whites has never given many the belief that he can succeed in limited-overs. However, the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) rewarded him for his heroics in the purest format with an IPL contract in the IPL 2021 auction early this year.
Pujara said in a chat with ESPNCricinfo, “I definitely think so (of expressing himself freely in the shorter formats), especially the way the white ball travels. It is just about making the mental change. I feel that mentally if you are ready to make some adjustments, you don’t need to take a lot of pressure. In Test cricket there is a lot of pressure, there is a price on your wicket. But in the shorter format, you just need to express yourself and play all the shots you can.”
He further opined, “I am very flexible now. And one has to be in this format. There was a time where players used to choose their role, but now players have changed, their roles have changed, and the most successful are the ones who are very flexible in the way they do things.
And when it comes to strike rate, yes, I agree that I’m not a power-hitter. But at the same time, you learn from players like Virat and Rohit, they are not purely power-hitters, but one of the best timers of the ball I have seen in the shorter formats,” concluded Pujara.