Veteran India batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara will make his return to the IPL after 6 seasons as he will don the yellow jersey of the Chennai Super Kings. Having last featured in the IPL in 2014, he was bought by the 3-time champions at the IPL 2021 auction for his base price of Rs. 50 lakhs.
The other franchises applauded him when CSK completed the buy – generally the clapping is being heard only for big money buy in the auction. This was a gesture from the franchises to commend Cheteshwar Pujara on his successful tour to Australia, where he helped Team India conquer the series Down Under for the second time; the right-hander took a number of body blows from the Aussie fast bowlers but refused to give up his wicket.
Cheteshwar Pujara reacts to that gesture saying that he is extremely proud and happy about the fact that the franchise gave him such respect. He thanks CSK, its owner, N Srinivasan, skipper MS Dhoni for trusting him in the auction.
“I could not have been more pleased. I am really proud and happy about that gesture by the franchises. It is the respect one gets for representing the country. I thank the franchise, Mr Srinivasan and Mahi (MS Dhoni) bhai for showing faith in me,” Cheteshwar Pujara told Cricbuzz.
“I feel privileged to be part of such a franchise which respects the performance of the players for the national team. I am lucky that I will be playing under Mahi bhai who was my captain when I made international debut. It is an emotional moment for me,” he added.
Glad that I am part of the IPL now: Cheteshwar Pujara
The 33-year-old is happy to return to the IPL; he has earlier represented the Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings). Pujara’s strike rate of 99.74 in 22 IPL innings and the perception of him being a red-ball specialist went against him at the auction table for the past years.
However, having played a lot of international cricket and gained experience in the IPL as well, now he reckons he could flourish under MS Dhoni at CSK.
“I don’t overrate myself as a T20 player. I can’t say where I stand as a T20 cricketer but as a cricketer, I am in much better space. Having played a lot of cricket at the international level, I am very confident I will do well in the shorter format too.
“I feel I am part of the right setup in the IPL. That is the best thing that could have happened to me. The franchise, its captain and support staff…, there are many people who can guide me to do well. I also understand the game well now and I also know what to do in the IPL. I love playing cricket, I don’t want to miss out on any format. I am glad that I am part of the IPL now and it can only help me grow as a cricketer,” the right-hander asserted.