Playing in first-class cricket helped me to return to form and Indian team: Pujara

Leicester, June 23 (PTI) Star India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara says playing in first-class cricket in the Ranji Trophy and County Championship helped him return to his form and the national team.

The thirty-four-year-old Pujara was not picked in the squad for India’s home Test series against Sri Lanka earlier this year. After scoring 720 runs in five matches for Sussex at an average of 120, he was picked up again in the national team for the fifth Test against England.

Pujara scored 91 runs in 83 balls against Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. He scored four centuries, including two double centuries, for Sussex in the County Championship of the Second Division.

Pujara told BCCI TV, “For me it was about playing as many first-class matches as possible. This experience was important. When you want to get back in form, when you want to find your rhythm, when you have that concentration, it is important to play some long innings.

“So, I could have done that when I was playing for Sussex. When I played my first big innings against Derbyshire, I felt I had found my momentum. My concentration was fine and everything was going well. I had a great time with the Sussexes.

Pujara said that he was confident of doing well in the county matches as he was already in good form in the Ranji Trophy.

“I played three matches for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy. It also helped me find my rhythm there. I knew I was batting well.

Apart from Pujara, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and pacer Jasprit Bumrah and the famous Krishna will play for Leicestershire in the four-day warm-up match.

The fifth test match between India and England will be held at Edgbaston in Birmingham from July 1.

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