Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has quashed criticism of a slow strike-rate in first-class cricket.
Pujara recently played for Saurashtra against Bengal in the Ranji Trophy final in Rajkot. He struck 66 from 237 balls at a strike rate of under 28.
“I don't think there is too much talk on the inside. In media, it is described differently but the team management has been backing me on this completely. There is no pressure from the captain, coach or anyone else,” Pujara told the Press Trust of India.
“I just want to clarify that when it comes to strike rate people start pointing towards team management's take on it, but there is no pressure on me at all. The team management understands my style of play and its importance.
“The question that was asked on social media during the Ranji final was, ‘Why am I taking so long to score X number of runs?' Whether I pay attention to that, no, I don't. My job is to make sure that the team wins at all times.”
Pujara before the Ranji Trophy final
Prior to the Ranji Trophy final, Pujara toured New Zealand with India for two Tests. He hit 100 runs in four innings. Before the tour of New Zealand, the talented right-hander amassed a superb double-century for Saurashtra against Karnataka.
“My standards are always high and I am not satisfied with the season that I had, but I would not call it a bad one at all. I don't think it is on the decline – the art of batting time. There is value for it,” added Pujara.
Pujara last played limited-overs cricket for India in India. He has not added to the five ODIs collected in 2013 and 2014 – and was not selected by an Indian Premier League franchise this year.
“It is a fact that there are more games in white-ball cricket. A youngster would want to play shorter formats because it is financially better. There is nothing wrong with that, but they should understand that real cricket is Test cricket and you will be judged only on the performances in the five-day game,” said Pujara.
“The importance of limited-overs cricket has increased significantly. You are not getting too many quality Test players.”