While former India spinner Pragyan Ojha is happy to see Cheteshwar Pujara back in the Indian Premier League (IPL) fold after been bought by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for IPL 2021, he said that he doesn’t see the Saurashtra and India batsman making it into the CSK first playing XI.
Pujara was bought for his base price of Rs 50 lakhs by the CSK management in the IPL 2021 auction, marking his comeback into the T20 league after 7 long years. He last played for Punjab Kings in IPL 2014, when they were known as Kings XI Punjab, and reached the finals of the tournament.
Despite the perception of being a Test specialist, Pujara averages close to 30 in T20s and strikes at 109.9. Only in 2019, Pujara scored his maiden T20 hundred for Saurashtra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy against Railways in Indore.
Maybe Cheteshwar Pujara Can Be A Replacement For Somebody Later On In The Tournament, But He Won’t Start In CSK XI: Pragyan Ojha
Ojha, who was seen in the Road Safety World Series for India Legends recently, opined that the 33-year-old may only find a place in CSK’s playing XI if someone from the first-choice XI gets injured during the tournament.
“I don’t see Pujara in the CSK first-XI, he will be part of the dressing room but I don’t see him in the first XI. Maybe he can be a replacement for somebody later on in the tournament but he won’t start. Pujara is a brilliant batsman, any format you talk about he has the skill and the temperament to play. He can perform, he’s got the ability,” Ojha told India Today.
Though Ojha was happy for Pujara getting his chance to play IPL after 7 long years, he was realistic in his assessment of the batsman’s ability to play the T20 format.
“But when we talk about T20 cricket, it is far away from Tests. You have to be very fit, the challenges are different on the field. That will be a challenge for Pujara. But other than that, I’m very happy for him. He’s got his chance after 7 years so this itself is an inspirational tale for all the youngsters that you never lose hope, things will change around,” Ojha added.
Chennai Super Kings will open their IPL 2021 campaign against Delhi Capitals at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on April 10.