India vs Leicestershire: Cheteshwar Pujara reveals how Ranji Trophy helped him stage India return

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Cheteshwar Pujara has had a rollercoaster ride in 2022, he lost his place in the Indian Test team after a series of disappointing performances during the Indian tour of South Africa. Indeed, Pujara’s last century returned in January 2019 and was therefore dropped from India’s test squad against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

He wasn’t the only player to be dropped though, as Ajinkya Rahane and Ishant Sharma were also the senior players who had to make way for the young guns.

But Pujara had other ideas, just a day after being dropped the veteran responded by scoring 91 carries on 83 balls against Mumbai. He went on to score regularly in first-class cricket until he was finally called up for India’s fifth Test match against England.

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READ| Ranji Trophy 2022: One day after being fired from Indian test team, Cheteshwar Pujara scores 91

Two half-centuries in three games of the Ranji Trophy was followed by a stint with Sussex in the County Championships, where Pujara enjoyed immense success.

He shattered four centuries in five matches, including two double centuries, making headlines with his exploits.

Speaking about how his resurgence in the Ranji Trophy and top-class cricket helped stage a comeback for the Indian side, Pujara told BCCI: “The most important thing was playing so many top-class matches. I was preparing for this when I was playing at home before joining Sussex.”

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He continued: “In the three games I played for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy, I found my rhythm, I knew I was batting well. It was about getting a big score and so when I “I had that in my first game, I knew everything’s back to normal now. (I was) finding my footwork, the back lift was going well.”

Revealing how he regained his joy in playing cricket which helped his cause, Pujara insisted that team performance remains the most important aspect of the game.

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“After that, I just wanted to enjoy my game and contribute to the success of the team. The most important thing is to have a good time on the pitch. I love this game, I love playing cricket, so every time I’m on the pitch, I want to try and make the most of it,” he added.

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The right-handed red-ball enforcer is set to be included in the playing XI when India take on England at Edgbaston from July 1-5.

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