Veteran batter Cheteshwar Pujara on Monday admitted that getting dropped from the Indian Test team was a frustrating experience, and left him with self-doubt and a bruised ego. The 35-year-old did not find a place in the Indian Test squad for the recent tour to the West Indies. The veteran of 103 Tests last played for India in the WTC Final against Australia at the Oval in June, where he made 14 and 27. Sachin Tendulkar To Be Designated ‘National Icon’ by Election Commission of India
"There have been ups and downs in the last few years. It tests you as a player because having played, say more than 90 Test matches, I still had to prove myself. I still had to prove that I belonged there. It's a different type of challenge," Pujara told the Final Word Podcast. Pujara said the axing sometimes left him a frustrated person.
"Sometimes you do get frustrated, even if you have to prove yourself after 90 Tests and five-six thousand, whatever number of runs I had scored. It's not easy. Sometimes it plays around with your ego. There are still doubts - are you good enough. "If you have to prove yourself again and again, (you wonder) whether it is worth it," said Pujara, who is now playing for Sussex in English County cricket.
Pujara was India's second highest run-getter in the last WTC cycle (2021-2023) with 928 runs from 17 Tests, a mere four runs behind top-placed Virat Kohli. Pujara also made his presence felt in the domestic matches with three hundreds. The Saurashtra man made a 133 for West Zone against Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy semifinals. He followed it up with unbeaten 106 and 117 for Sussex against Northamptonshire and Somerset respectively in the One-Day Cup. Pujara is convinced that he has a lot more to offer to Indian cricket.
"I know that the kind of contributions I have made to Indian cricket, I still have a lot to contribute. I was given an interesting stat some time ago.
"I was told that whenever I have scored more than 70 or 80 runs for the Indian team, about 80% of the time India have gone on to win...or we haven't lost that particular Test match," he said.
However, Pujara said he was not worried about selection and his focus will be on further sharpening his game. BCCI Turns Down Hyderabad Cricket Association’s Request for Change in ICC World Cup 2023 Schedule
"In my cricketing career, I have been put under pressure so many times where I've lost my spot in the team. But you just try and play for the team. You don't try and play for your spot. "If you play for your spot, you're just another selfish cricketer who is just being there in the playing XI, playing for the spot but not contributing to the team."
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