Cheteshwar Pujara has had a roller coaster in 2022, he lost his place in the Indian Test side after a string of underwhelming performances during India’s tour of South Africa. Indeed, Pujara’s last century had come way back in January 2019, and thus was dropped from the Indian Test squad against Sri Lanka earlier this year. 

He wasn’t the only player to be dropped, however, 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 one day after being dropped, the veteran responded by scoring 91 runs off 83 balls against Mumbai. He followed it up by scoring consistently in first class cricket until he was finally recalled for India’s fifth Test match against England. 

READ| Ranji Trophy 2022: Day after being dropped from India Test squad, Cheteshwar Pujara scores 91

Two half-centuries in three Ranji Trophy matches were followed by a stint with Sussex in the County Championships, where Pujara tasted immense success.

He smashed four centuries in five matches, two of which were double centuries, making headlines with his exploits.

Talking about how his resurgence in Ranji Trophy and first-class cricket helped stage a comeback to the Indian side, Pujara told BCCI: “The most important thing was playing so many first class games. I was preparing for this when I was playing back home before I joined Sussex.”

READ| Sussex vs Middlesex: Watch every ball of Shaheen Afridi vs Cheteshwar Pujara in County Championships

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

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

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

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

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