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Would love to play in County cricket again, says Cheteshwar Pujara

The top-order batsman refused to respond to queries on the rift between India captain Virat Kohli and former coach Anil Kumble.
PTI Chennai July 02, 2017 22:16 IST
PTI

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara enjoyed his county stint with Nottinghamshire and says he would love to play in England again. "It was great to be associated with Nottinghamshire. I enjoyed playing on wickets in England in challenging conditions. Facing fast bowlers/seamers there is a different experience when compared to playing in India. I am happy that I was able to cope well and score runs," he told reporters on the sidelines of a promotional event.

"I would love to play in the English County season again, if and when the chance comes," he added.

"During the county stint, I got to spend time with English players Stuart Broad and Samit Patel (who both play for Nottinghamshire) and former England coach Peter Moores.

"I discussed playing on different kinds of pitches and learnt about life on the county circuit," Pujara, who scored 233 runs from five innings, said.

This was his third county stint, after having previously played for Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

With a tour of Sri Lanka line later this month, Pujara recalled the series in 2015 when India won 2-1 after losing a closely contested first Test and said the century in the final Test at Colombo was a career-defining one for him.

The Saurashtra right-hander had been on the reserves and got a call-up for the third Test due to injuries to Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan.

His unbeaten 145 in the first innings was one of the highlights of the memorable victory, which helped India win a series in Lanka after 22 years.

Pujara topped the batting charts in the 2016-17 home season with 1316 runs in 13 Tests at an average of 62.66, inclusive of four centuries and eight fifties.

"That century was in 2015 against Lanka was a career- defining one for me. I was under pressure and had been struggling for form. It was a difficult phase but I always believed in my abilities. I felt happy to score when the team needed it the most," he said.

"It was a matter of proving my critics wrong. I had worked hard and the results were evident. I was relieved to get the runs in tough conditions," he added.

Pujara is India's "Mr Dependable" at the vital number three position after the retirement of Rahul Dravid, who continues to mentor him.

"He (Dravid) is a humble person. He has always been a great help. Whenever I have approached him for advice, he has been forthcoming.

"Once when I was not in the best of form, I reached out to him and after watching me bat in the nets for some time, said there was nothing wrong with my technique," the Saurashtra batsman, who has played 48 Tests, said.

Pujara, however, refused to respond to queries on the rift between India captain Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble, leading to the head coach's acrimonious exit.