Pujara sees India `A` tour as ticket to break into senior side

Updated: May 11, 2010, 18:59 PM IST

Rajkot: Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara believes that a good show for India `A` in next month`s England tour will be a stepping stone for a call up to the senior side.

Pujara, who will captain the India `A` side, said he is looking forward to grab the opportunity with both hands in the month-long tour of England beginning June 5.

"The conditions will be difficult there and in West Indies `A` and England Lions we have stiff opposition. If you do well, you are almost there for the India side. I am really looking forward to it," Pujara told PTI in an interview.

"I am not nervous at all, but yes, it will be a tough and challenging job. Need to handle many things, have to bring the best from the side. It`s a team game, we have to help each other. I am sure it will be a wonderful experience," Pujara, who admires Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s leadership qualities, said.

One of the most prolific batsmen in the domestic circuit, Pujara said his Kolkata Knight Riders experience in the Indian Premier League would help him in the England tour.

"I have learnt a lot being with KKR. It was really of great help sharing the dressing room with the likes of Sourav Ganguly, David Hussey and Chris Gayle. I hope my KKR experience will help," said the 22-year-old batsman.

Pujara, who has three triple centuries to his credit in the 2008-09 Ranji season, said, "This is for the first time, I will lead the country in an international assignment. It`s a great feeling that I will lead India `A` side.

"At the same time, I have a good reputation to defend," he said, citing example of the Virat Kohli-led side which won the Emerging Players` Series in Australia last year.

"I am thankful to the selectors for having faith on me. I have had a word with them. When I was not getting chances despite my good performance at the domestic level, they would tell me not to worry and have patience. Leading a side is about responsibility. I have to think of everyone, the players, their positive and negative sides," said the youngster.

Pujara will lead a 16-member side, featuring some of the Indian domestic players who impressed in the recently concluded IPL, including Manish Pandey, Saurabh Tiwary, Shikhar Dhawan and Jaydev Unadkat.

KKR teammate Wriddhiman Saha will be Pujara`s deputy with the side also having Manoj Tiwary.

"We are a very good and experienced side and have players who are on the verge of playing for the country and few of them have played for India as well. I know them all, it will definitely help," he said. MORE