Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said that he wants to make a century every time he hits the bat, and admitted that his last international season did not meet the high standards he set himself.
In the latest series in New Zealand, Pujara scored 100 runs in four innings when India won the test series 2-0. It was an extension of a relatively lean run for the classically styled batsman, starting with India’s tour of the West Indies in 2019. In nine tests since this series, he has not achieved a century.
This patch can be considered a statistical slip in the career of a batsman who has 18 test hundreds and an average of 48.66 in format. Pujara admitted that his recent appearances did not quite meet his standard, which is defined by challenging himself to make a hundred every time he hits.
“I always challenge myself to get 100, but an average of almost 50 in tests means that you achieve half a century almost every second,” said Pujara in an interview with PTI. “My standards are always high and I’m not happy with the season I’ve had, but I wouldn’t call it bad at all,” he said.
Despite the recent shortage of hundreds, Pujara has been India’s second highest test runner in recent years, only behind Virat Kohli. It is not his ability to do great runs that have been scrutinized, but his hit rate that occasionally falls under the scanner. His 42.41 hit rate in the last 24 months is the lowest among those who have scored at least 1,000 runs.
However, Pujara believes the excitement surrounding his hit rate is not justified. He insisted that he had no pressure on the Indian team leadership to change his style of play.
“I just want to make it clear that I have no pressure whatsoever on the hit rate. The team leaders understand my style of play and what it means,” he said. “If you look at a series of tests in which I got runs and took a little time, most of the opposition batsmen used the same number of balls,” he added. “I know I can’t be David Warner or Virender Sehwag, but if a normal hitter needs time, there’s nothing wrong with that.”