WTC Final: Pujara feels India well to deal with Kiwi bowlers
By Sarita Dey
on Thu May 20 2021
The last time India played a Test in Southampton – venue for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand next month – Cheteshwar Pujara had scored an unbeaten 132. While India lost that game against England, Pujara played his part in keeping his side in the hunt.
The 33-year-old will once again be a crucial factor as India looks to win the inaugural WTC crown. During a chat with TOI, Pujara spoke on the pandemic, Team India’s bench strength in recent times, and more.
This is a tough time for everyone in the world. A situation that happens more than once every 100 years. Fortunately, we are able to play and the WTC Final is on schedule. Even if you are not well prepared, the team will have enough experience and you will be able to perform powerfully. The Indian team has recently shown a way to win in all respects and will be confident in the match against New Zealand and the subsequent test series with England.
There are many ways I can’t do it when it comes to batting. However, when it comes to training, there are many ways to train, especially during quarantine. You need to talk to your trainer to understand the different ideas for keeping yourself healthy and occupying. Quarantine before all series is the most difficult part. The positive thing is that players are enthusiastic about training during quarantine and help them stay in top shape after they start practicing.
The Indian team has recorded an amazing journey in the last two years. We played well to compete in the finals, and everyone is looking forward to it. The finals between India and New Zealand will be a clash between the two top-quality aspects. It will definitely be a good game as both teams match evenly.
I don’t want to name a particular bowler in their lineup. Their bowling attacks are very balanced. We have previously faced their bowlers and have a fair idea of how they work and the angles they use and we are ready.
Last year, I lost the series to Kiwi. Will it give them a psychological advantage?
I do not think so. When I played kiwi in 2020, it was in their backyard. This is not the case as the WTC final is a neutral place for both teams. No team has a home advantage. We cover our foundations and, if we maximize our potential, we can defeat every aspect of the world.
India lost the final test in Southampton in 2018. Was there a lesson that could help you with this game?
It is difficult to evaluate a particular game. We were in a position to take command (against England in 2018) and had the opportunity. However, this time we are playing on another side, so we will not evaluate the test in the WTC final. The only thing we need to take from any game is the positive side, which I always believe.
Is this the strongest bench strength ever in the last 10 years you have been part of the Indian team?
definitely. The amount of talent on the Indian circuit is enormous. Whether bowling or batting, there is a player backup. The Australian series earlier this year is one example. There were many injuries, but the backup options worked well to win the series. Everyone on this Indian team is hungry for good things, and that’s a good sign.