Come April and a vast majority of global cricket icons will descend on India to take part in the eleventh edition of the carnival that is Indian Premier League (IPL). Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s premier Test batsman, though, will head out of the country to play for Yorkshire in the English county circuit. Instead of being an anomaly, it was pretty much certain that Pujara was unlikely to find any takers at the recent IPL auction in Bangalore.
Pujara says he is stereotyped as a Test cricketer
With his last IPL outing coming back in the 2014 season, Pujara has shed some light on missing out on playing in the world’s premier domestic T20 league and the reasons behind the same. The Saurashtra-batsman believes that not having an IPL deal has a lot to do with “public perceptions” and his stereotypical image in cricketing circles.
While Pujara’s argument has some logic, it is also true that he has done little to improve or shed that public perception in his outings for India’s Test side. While his classical approach to occupying the crease and batting for long periods is ideal for the longer format, it doesn’t appeal to IPL franchise owners who are known to take a keen interest in dynamic and flexible players who come armed with specific T20 skill-sets.
Dejected by IPL 2018, Pujara heads to England county
Pujara also says that while it was a bit disappointing in the beginning, he is now used to watching the IPL action unfold from the sidelines and finds ways to use that time productively. This year, India’s Number 3 will be heading to England to represent Yorkshire, who have re-signed him as one of their overseas players for the upcoming county season.
“I am looking forward to the season ahead. I had played with them in the 2015 season, when we won the County Championship. It’s a fantastic set of players with a good bunch of professionals,” Pujara said about his upcoming county commitments, as reported by the Indian Express.
Pujara is an experienced county performer as he also featured for Nottinghamshire last summer where he scored over 800 runs including three centuries. With India set to embark on a long tour of England this summer, Pujara believes that the county sojourn would specifically serve as the ideal preparatory ground for him ahead of the five-match Test series.
“Playing Division 1 has its advantages. I will be playing against Middlesex (Lord’s), Warwickshire (Birmingham) and Surrey (Oval) in away games, where India will play Test matches. So I will get a fair idea about the pitches and conditions,” he stated.