`Switching to Test mode in England after IPL won`t be easy`
New Delhi: India will embark on a redemption tour to England just after the ongoing IPL and Cheteshwar Pujara, who is expected to be the team`s batting mainstay, feels it will be a tall ask for the visitors` to switch to Test cricket mode from Twenty20 format.
"It won`t be easy at all," Pujara, who is playing for Kings XI Punjab in this year`s IPL, told PTI from Cuttack today.
"But the good thing is that we have two practice games before the five Tests. We will try to make the most of it. We will obviously have some plans to tackle the conditions," he said of the tour which is starting with a warm-up against Leicestershire on June 26.
Besides five Tests, India will play five ODIs and a lone T20 International during its England tour. In their last tour to England in 2011, India drew a blank as they returned winless from the two-month long trip. India were humiliated 0-4 by the hosts in the Test series followed by a 0-3 drubbing in the five-match ODI rubber. The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side also lost the lone T20 match.
Considering their showing in 2011, the upcoming tour to England holds great significance for the Indian team. And Pujara said adjusting to the unfamiliar pitches there will be the biggest challenge for the visitors.
"The wickets there are something we can`t have in India and that makes the job really challenging. It is the same for them when they come here and play on spin-friendly wickets," Pujara said.
"The thing which will give me confidence there is the experience of playing in New Zealand and South Africa where I managed to do alright," said the 26-year-old Saurashtra batsman, who has a staggering average of 58.92 in 19 Tests.
Pujara has certainly made a name for himself in the longest format, but time and again he has expressed his desire to excel in all three formats.
"I am learning every day in this format (T20). I have spoken a lot to David Miller, Glenn Maxwell and Viru Pa (Sehwag) on how to improve as a T20 player. I still feel I have a lot of catching up to do in this format.
"T20 is all about innovation and I am working on new shots, so that I am able to hit the big shots whenever the need arises. I am also working a lot on my strength and fitness. But I am doing all these keeping in mind that it doesn`t affect my natural game," said the affable cricketer.
Asked about Kings XI Punjab`s stupendous success so far in the IPL, Pujara put it down to team effort.
"It is all about the picking the right team combination. What has got us in this position is that we have done well in all three departments. Our batting was always seen as the strongest point but if that has not clicked, our bowlers have come to the party. The fielding has been brilliant too."
Pujara was left out of the playing eleven in last night`s game against Chennai Super Kings.
On the team`s decision to leave him out, Pujara, who has scored 125 runs in the first six games at a strike-rate of 100.80, said: "I can`t talk about the decisions of the team management. Some things should stay within the team. I would just like to say that I was given the opening role and I have performed it well."