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I can't replace Dravid, says centurion Pujara

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Published: Friday, August 24, 2012, 12:30 [IST]
 
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India eyeing 400, says Pujara

Hyderabad, Aug 24: The Saurashtra batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara played an amazing knock on Day One of the first Test against New Zealand has said he was privileged to play at No 3, in Dravid's absence, but feels he cannot replace the legend.

Pujara who scored his maiden ton against New Zealand on Thursday at Hyderabad, said he wanted to play his own game when promoted ahead of Virat Kohli, at No 3 and said it was indeed a privilege to bat at that position.

"I don't think I can replace Rahul. It is impossible to do so. I just wanted to play my own game. It's a privilege to be playing in his position," he said after the day's play. "Obviously it is a great feeling. It is a dream to score a century in Tests," he said about his century.

Pujara said he was aware of playing at No 3 as he has the experience of playing in that position and also revealed that he was not under pressure.

"I knew that I was going to bat at No. 3 position. I have the experience of playing at this position as I have done it several times in domestic cricket. It is not a new thing for me. I was not really worried about it or wasn't under any pressure when I went out," he said when asked if he was under pressure.

Talking about the wicket, Pujara said it was a slow one but was better as the day progressed.

"At times you can get under pressure. The wicket was slow and we had to wait for the ball to come on to the bat. But after lunch it eased up a bit and we were able to play our strokes."

Pujara also revealed that he had got frustrated especially when he was off strike as he had to wait for a long time to take strike.

"Yes, it can be frustrating not getting strike for long periods but that is what Test cricket is all about. It is important to be patient and keep focus."

But the 24 year old also said he was happy to get his maiden ton after recovering from an injury and also believed in himself when he was down and out of the team which helped him make a comeback.

"Obviously I am happy that all my hard work is paying off. One tends to become mentally tough after going through a tough phase in life. I too went through a difficult period especially with the injury. It was bad for me and the family too. But deep in my heart I knew that I will be able to make a comeback to the Indian team and play the game which I love so much," he said.

The Saurashtra batsman, who had hit only one six during his knock of 119*, said that he is an aggressive batsman and has hit sixes in domestic games too.

"I have hit sixes even in domestic games. I have a strike rate of between 60 and 70 which is quite high for the longer game. My natural game is quite an attacking one but somehow people think that I am more suited for Tests."

When asked what the two were planning, Pujara said, there was no special strategy as such but they wanted to build a partnership and take India's total past 400.

"Virat wanted to get himself in before thinking of pushing the scoreboard. There was no special strategy as such but we were keen to build a partnership. With the New Zealanders one bowler short because Bracewell suffered cramps and was unable to bowl we decided to capitalize on it," he added.

"Our immediate target is to put 400 plus on the board. Once we reach there we will see what to do."

ThatsCricket

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