T20 is all about shifting gears: Pujara

Mohali, May 7 (IANS) Royal Challengers Bangalore’s new opening batsman Cheteshwar Pujara feels Twenty20 is not all about coming out with innovative shots but shifting gears at the right moment.

“I think ultimately the basic technique has to be there even when you want to accelerate. But I think it is about shifting gears at the right moment, and I was able to do it (against Kings XI),” Pujara told IPLT20.com.

Playing his first match of the season, Pujara, who was coming out of a knee injury, struck an impressive 51 but it went in vain as Kings XI stole away with an unlikely six-wicket win after David Miller hit an unbeaten 38-ball 101.

Pujara said he was shaky while batting in his first Indian Premier League (IPL) match of the season but once he settled down he felt confident.

“It is a great feeling to get a half-century. I was a bit shaky at the starting of the innings. But once I settled down, I could play my natural shots. My basic technique is the same and it is just about making little adjustments in the game,” he added.

Pujara was back to the ground after a break of a month as he suffered from knee injury earlier in the tournament. He trained hard at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore.

“I was working hard at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for my recovery, and I even worked on my batting and fielding. It is paying off now. So, I am really happy about it.”

Pujara said opening with a hard-hitter like Chris Gayle, who struck 61, took the pressure off him.

“As an opener, I feel really comfortable because of the way he hits the ball. I don’t have to be under pressure of scoring quick runs. And even seeing him from the non-striker’s end, the way he is hitting the ball… it is incredible.

“I can play my natural game. I can take more time than what is expected in Twenty20 to settle down and then start playing my shots. Basically, it gives you extra luxury to have batsmen like these in the side. The kind of batsmen they are, they can win a game from any situation,” he said.

Pujara was happy with the way his mentor Rahul Dravid, who leads Rajasthan Royals, has been performing in the league.

“I have been following Rahul Dravid since my childhood and he is one of the batsmen I look up to. So, the way he is batting at the moment and even in the past, it is always inspiring.”

Pujara was all praise for his skipper Virat Kohli.

“He is really supportive. He himself is a good batsman and a good fielder. So, there are many things to learn from him and he is a good colleague as well. When I was in the Indian team, I was enjoying his company. And now being part of RCB it is a great feeling,” he said

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