NEW DELHI : Senior India top-order batter Cheteshwar Pujara was named Player of the Series for scoring 222 runs in four innings against Bangladesh, as the visitors secured a 2-0 series sweep.
In the series, Pujara's unbeaten 102 in the first Test at Chattogram was his fastest century in the longest format of the game, he used his feet beautifully, was coming down the pitch constantly to flick, paddle-sweep and loft over mid-on and mid-off against spinners.
During a video conversation on bcci.tv after winning the second Test at Dhaka by three wickets, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin poked fun at Pujara by saying, "On the other side, Cheteshwar Pujara has gone over the top and has swept bowlers with consistency through this series."
In reply, Pujara credited his domestic team Saurashtra and his county stint with Sussex in England for the shots he played against Bangladesh. "I was pretty happy with the way things went, particularly in the second innings (of the first Test) because that was the ideal situation for me to showcase the shots which I have been practising. A lot of credit has to go to the amount of white-ball cricket I played for Sussex and Saurashtra."
Pujara further revealed he had been practising shots like that every day and he finally got the chance to execute them in the series against Bangladesh. "You know that I have been working on this for quite some time and it has been almost a couple of years. It has been in all of my practice sessions and the last Test match was the one where I got an opportunity to do that, which you have been pushing me to do as well."
Pujara signed off by admitting he had been unsure of bringing out those shots in the past due to not taking a risk. But against Bangladesh, it came off pretty well. "It helped me gain that confidence because I was playing those shots before that as well."
"But in Tests you always kind of hesitate, you always want to put a price on your wicket, you don't want to take the risk when you can score runs down the ground. But that was the ideal situation for me and it paid off really well."