After guiding India to their first-ever Test series win in Australia, the talismanic Cheteshwar Pujara feels that the win has boosted the confidence of the Indian team as they shift their focus to the inaugural ICC Test Championship that is due to start in July this year.
Pujara who scored 521 runs including three hundreds in the 2-1 series win stressed that the Championship is now going to be the "most important thing" in the No.1 Test team's plans going forward.
In an interview with Cricket Next, Pujara said: "I think the most important thing is the Test championship, which is starting from this year. So, to win that as a team and continue the success which we had in Australia is the most important thing. We have started winning overseas. And whenever we play overseas now, I am very sure we will be a different unit.
"We will be even more confident as a team. And I think that the success mantra we have got on this tour will help us in the coming tours in the future."
While many consider Pujara to be a red-ball specialist, the batsman differed by saying that his white-ball record speaks for itself and given more exposure he is confident that the mindset of people will change as far as his abilities in the shorter formats are concerned.
"If you look at my List A cricket, the way I have batted, the number of runs that I have scored, is very good and when I played white-ball cricket for Yorkshire last season, I scored many runs. I think I had a hundred and three fifties in about four innings which shows I can play white-ball cricket. I personally have no doubt about it. I can play white-ball cricket, and it is something where I can get a little more exposure. If I get more opportunity then things will change.
Is there anything Cheteshwar Pujara can't do?— ICC (@ICC) January 20, 2019
His latest incredible feat was to inspire his domestic side Saurashtra to a record Ranji Trophy chase.
READ 👇https://t.co/6i7BcSlRna pic.twitter.com/stJaEBggCS
"It is the mindset. The moment people start seeing me bat well in ODI cricket or T20 cricket, they will understand that this player can do it. Because if you look at my Test cricket (game), people had that opinion that this is the old-school cricket. But that opinion changed. And even with white-ball cricket, I think in times to come, it will change," explained Pujara.
The Saurashtra batsman has weathered a number of attacks in his playing career till date from the No. 3 position in the batting order. When asked what was the secret to his success in this crucial position, the right-hander revealed that his attitude of being "prepared to walk in at any time" has helped him to pull the team out of trouble at any stage of the innings.
"Mentally you have to be prepared to walk in at any time when you are batting at No.3. It is always nice when openers have a good partnership, you can always relax a bit. I am sure whoever has batted at No.3, they all know that openers' job is the toughest in Test cricket. You still have to accept that most of the times, they get out early.
"But, especially overseas, it's a tough job for openers. So they do get out early, but it is always nice to have a partnership. If we are 50 for no loss, I am always happy. But if I have to walk in in the first 5 overs I am still always prepared for it," he signed off by saying.