Senior India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara is set to make his return to the Indian Premier League after 6 seasons having last played in the tournament in 2014. He was roped in by the Chennai Super Kings at the IPL 2021 auction for his base price of Rs. 50 lakhs.
Cheteshwar Pujara made his IPL debut in 2010 for Kolkata Knight Riders then moved to Royal Challengers Bangalore before turning up for Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in 2014. He has gone unsold since and has been regarded as a red-ball specialist; his IPL career strike rate of 99.74 in 22 innings went against his selection at the auction table, and hence he is excited and eager to play in the ‘best league in the world’ again.
“It’s been long for sure (he played 30 games). I was last part of Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings). My last game, I think, was against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede in 2014. To make a comeback to the IPL means a lot to me. It is the best league in the world and I have missed out on being part of it for a quite some time,” Cheteshwar Pujara told Cricbuzz.
I know I can do well here but I have not had sufficient opportunities: Cheteshwar Pujara
The 33-year-old has always been confident of his batting in limited-overs cricket despite the perceived notion, but rues on missing the opportunities. The Gujarat batsman, who has been significant in India’s twin successes in Australia, points out that at the time when the white-ball domestic cricket is going on, he is playing Test cricket for India, and thus cannot feature in limited-overs matches.
“There has been a perception that those who play more of Test cricket are usually ignored in the shorter format. So even if you want to prove your abilities as a T20 or a white-ball player, you get very limited opportunities. When a white-ball tournament is happening in the domestic circuit, I would be busy playing for the Indian team.
“But when I had a chance to play white-ball games in county cricket, I actually performed well. I know I can do well here but I have not had sufficient opportunities to showcase the talent. When Mushtaq Ali or Vijay Hazare tournaments happen, I would be busy with the national team most of the times,” Pujara explains.