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Mohammad Kaif has lauded veteran batter Cheteshwar Pujara‘s grit and determination to continue being in the Indian Test team after he was axed following a poor run of form. A miserable outing in the South Africa Test series meant that Pujara was excluded for the home series against Sri Lanka earlier this year.
Nonetheless, the Gujarat cricketer did not give up and signed a contract with Sussex, making himself available for the entire 2022 County season, where he scored a truckload of runs and got back into the national team’s scheme.
“The way he scored runs after getting dropped, he has set an example for young players on how to make a comeback. He went to play County cricket, he scored centuries in four-day matches and 50-over games, which prompted the selectors to recall him. He made the selectors surrender in front of him,” Kaif told NDTV during an interaction organised by the Sony Sports Network.
“Age has nothing to do with cricket. It is a skill-based game. It’s not football, where you have to run up and down continuously during the match. In fact, age is a plus point. You learn with experience and improve. Pujara, Kohli and Rohit and prime examples. Test cricket is a skill-based format, you have to play for days and you need experience for that. You need players who can bat on turning, as well as seaming tracks, and you only get better with time. Pujara is a prime example,” he added.
Pujara played in the rescheduled fifth Test match in July. Even though he failed in the first innings, he made up for it in the second by scoring 66 runs. The veteran batter would now be hoping to perform in the two-match Test series against Bangladesh, starting December 14. Pujara has been named the vice-captain for the series and he will be assisting the stand-in captain KL Rahul in injured Rohit Sharma’s absence.