IND vs. AUS: “My dream is to win the WTC final for India,” Pujara says ahead of his 100th Test appearance
New Delhi, (IANS) On the eve of his 100th Test appearance in the second match of the 2023 Border-Gavaskar Trophy series at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, top-order batter Cheteshwar Pujara revealed his next goal is to help India win a World Test Championship (WTC) final.
After winning the Nagpur Test by an innings and 132 runs, India must now win two more matches against Australia to secure a spot in the World T20 final, which will be held between June 7-11 at The Oval in London for the second time. Australia currently leads the World Tour Championships, with India in second place.
“There is a lot more to be done. I am extremely pleased and excited to play my hundredth Test match. But at the same time, we are playing an important series. So, hopefully, we will win this Test match and then go on to win another Test match, ensuring that we will qualify for the WTC final. My ambition is to help the Indian team win a WTC final, which did not happen in the previous final. But, hopefully, once we qualify, we will be able to move forward “In the pre-match press conference on Thursday, a determined Pujara said.
Pujara made his Test debut in October 2010, ironically in the second Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against Australia at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
Since his Test debut in October 2010 which ironically came in the second Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against Australia at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, Pujara has emerged to be a mainstay in India’s batting order in the longest format of the game.
Pujara has now played 99 Tests, scoring 7,021 runs at a strike rate of 44.15, including 19 centuries and 34 half-centuries. On Friday, he will become the 13th Indian cricketer to play in 100 Tests.
“When I started playing cricket and then made my (Test) debut, I never thought about playing hundred Test matches. It’s always about being in the moment and not looking too far ahead for me.
So, before this series began, I thought, and that’s when I realised I’d be playing my hundredth Test match. In a career, there will always be ups and downs, and you must fight through those times.”
“For me, I never thought that I will play a hundred Test matches as that wasn’t my goal. I’ve always been a player who strives for success in every Test match and series. The Hundredth Test Match is something that happens along the way, not something you can plan for. But that happens when you keep playing good cricket,” he added.
Pujara also expressed gratitude to his family, friends, and coaches throughout his life, particularly his father Arvind, who has been his coach since childhood and will be in attendance on Friday when he plays his 100th Test match.
“It means a lot to me and my family. My father has been a huge supporter of my cricketing career. He’s someone who has coached me since I was a child, so he’s very excited and will be here tomorrow with my wife, who has been very supportive.”
“Family support is very important in a cricketer’s life, and I am very thankful to my family, friends, and the coaches whom I have worked with over time and who have played a very important role in my cricketing career.”