Cheteshwar Pujara, who was appointed captain of the India ‘A’ team that will take on West Indies ‘A’ later this month, says having Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan in his team will make his task easier. Excerpts from an interview:
You have led India ‘A’ in the past. But is this the strongest A team you have ever led?
Yes, because it will be first time we will see so many senior players in the team. During our last trip to South Africa, we had a few experienced players but having Viru bhai, Gauti bhai and Zak bhai makes this a very strong India ‘A’ side.
How do you plan to deal with senior players like them?
Their presence will make my work easier in fact. I will be able to rely on their inputs and experience in tough situations. Also, having them in the side will help me learn more. There are occasions when I face a tough situation during a day’s play. In such situations, I generally consult my teammates and take their advice. So having such senior players with vast experience will be of great help to me.
You must have learned some things from these players in the past as well...
Of course. I don’t remember the instances but since I have played most of my games alongside them, they’ve played a crucial role in shaping my career. And it’s not just me. When Zak bhai was in the Indian team, he used to guide each bowler. He knows how to bowl on different types of pitches. On flat tracks, he will tell the boys how to reverse swing the ball and which should be the areas to focus on. I’m looking forward to learning from these guys.
You do not lead Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy. So how do you manage to carry out the responsibility for India ‘A’?
I haven’t led Saurashtra in Ranji but I have done that in under-14, under-16, under-19 and under-22 matches and have even captained (West Zone) in the Duleep Trophy. I was captain of India Under-19 too, for a brief period. So captaincy is nothing new to me. Had I not led any junior side, it could have been a problem. Captaincy