As Cheteshwar Pujara prepares for his Nottinghamshire debut, the world’s number four Test batsman says the red ball game is the true test of a cricketer.
The 29-year-old is set to bolster a Nottinghamshire batting line-up lacking Alex Hales who is away with England, but featuring Steven Mullaney for the first time in the Specsavers County Championship this season.
With the ball, the headache caused by Jake Ball and James Pattinson’s absence through international duty is eased by the return to fitness of Luke Fletcher, together with the continued availability of Stuart Broad.
Luke Wood, Brett Hutton and Matthew Carter are in contention for their first four-day appearances of the season having also been named in the 14-man party.
Pujara is excited by taking the field with his new teammates for the first time.
“I’m really looking forward to joining up with them for sure,” he said.
“It’s part of the culture of cricket where you are often meeting new players and getting to know how they progress in their first class careers. This will be another experience like that.
“I’m in touch with a few of the guys and they’re really pleased with the way things are progressing.
“I’m looking forward to contribute with the way things are going and hopefully we’ll win as many matches as possible.
“I met Samit Patel in 2012 in India and I’ve obviously played a lot of cricket against Stuart Broad. He’s a great bowler, so it’ll be good to have a chat with him.”
Pujara’s availability for a stint in county cricket became apparent once he wasn’t picked up in the auction for the Indian Premier League.
Pujara, who has played 48 Tests but never featured in a T20 for his country, is comfortable with his preference for the longer format arena.
“When it comes to a real test of technique, red ball cricket is always the place to challenge a player.
“Any player can score a 50 or a 100 on a given day, but when it comes to red ball cricket you really have to be consistent all year. If you’re not, your technique gets exposed.
“It’ not all about playing well in the first innings. You have to play well in the second innings after fielding for a long time.
“It’s challenging to your fitness and it’s challenging to your technique. Overall, it’s the ultimate test.”
Although Pujara’s debut will come within 48 hours of arriving in the UK, the Rajkot born right-hander has been working hard in India to prepare for his latest county stint.
“It’s up to 45 degrees back home, but I’ve been doing regular skills and fitness sessions,” he said.
“To prepare for the county cricket challenge I’ve been working on facing some swing bowling – and I found wickets back home with some grass on.
“The conditions are challenging in England. Whenever I’ve played county cricket I never got easy runs.
“At most of the venues they’ll be something for the fast bowlers. I learn many things every time I play in English conditions.”
Nottinghamshire squad to face Glamorgan (from): Brendan Taylor, Jake Libby, Cheteshwar Pujara, Steven Mullaney, Chris Read, Stuart Broad, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Luke Fletcher, Matthew Carter, Samit Patel, Brett Hutton and Michael Lumb.
All four days of Nottinghamshire’s away fixture against Glamorgan will be streamed with commentary via the Trent Bridge Live Match Centre in partnership with Deeserve.