New Delhi: Out of favour off late following a string of poor scores, top-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara is keen to make his comeback into the Indian Test squad and said it's just a matter of time before he regains his place in the playing eleven.
Pujara is not only happy to be awarded the India A cricket captaincy but is also looking forward to be working under the able mentorship of Rahul Dravid.
The Indian selectors picked a 15-member India A side for two four-day matches against Australia A starting July 22, with Pujara at the helm. The Saurasthra batsman, who has represented India in 27 Tests, last played against Australia in December.
"I have been part of the team on a regular basis but have missed out on a game here and there. It is just a matter of time before I get back in the XI," Pujara was quoted as saying on bcci.Tv.
"I have been working hard on my game and I don't think there should be any issues. All I can do is improve my game, irrespective of whether or not I am part of the team. That is the advice I have been getting from all the former greats and that is what I will continue to do," he added.
It will also be Dravid's first assignment as India A coach and Pujara is already excited with the prospect of working with the legendary batsman.
"It will be really important. He (Dravid) is a great mentor. I have been in touch with him and have had many conversations with him. He was with the Indian team for two weeks on our tour to England last year. I have seen him train when he used to play and spoken to him at the NCA," said Pujara.
"He obviously has immense knowledge of the game but the way he puts it across and explains things, it makes you really comfortable.
"The last time I chatted with him, he was very positive about the way I have been batting and he told me there isn't any major fault in my technique. He told me that at times I got good balls and that I have to accept that as a batsman. This is the first time I will have him as a mentor for a longer period and he will watch me play.
"This will help me more because it is one thing to talk over the phone but quite another talking in person and spending quality time," Pujara added.
Talking about the tours of England and Australia, Pujara said that playing those two cricket nations taught him to accept failure.
"You need to accept your failure. Because of the amount of runs I had been scoring before the England tour, I always thought that I can score a century every other game. So, not being able to get runs was a frustrating experience for me. With time I learnt how to accept that," he said.
"Also, you have to understand that sometimes you may have not scored big runs but may still have fulfilled a specific role for your team. For instance, in the first innings of the Lord's Test I scored only 28 runs, but I saw through a tough spell and the small 37-run partnership between (Murali) Vijay and me was really crucial.
"You have to learn how to appreciate yourself for these little things and not beat yourself up for not scoring big runs always. You may be very good at what you do but at the end of the day you do make mistakes and you have to move on. That's what I have started to do after the England and Australia tours," Pujara added.
Asked about his county stint with Yorkshire, the 27-year-old player credits the English experience for bringing a new dimension to his game.
"I really enjoyed playing for Yorkshire. When you play in England, things are difficult, especially in the beginning of the season, in the month of April and May. The weather is cold and the ball moves a lot on fresh wickets. As a batsman it is a challenge and the pressure is two-fold because you make a small mistake and you lose your wicket," he said.