India’s flamboyant batter Cheteshwar Pujara is hopeful of Team India scripting history in South Africa by winning their maiden India – South Africa Test series there. Barring the final of the World Test Championship, India has enjoyed a phenomenal ride in the purest format of the game in the recent past.

The team outclassed Australia in their own soil by 2-1 earlier this year. Virat Kohli’s side followed it up with another scintillating win against England by 3-1 in the home Test series. India’s last away Test series came against England in England in August and September this year. 

The tour saw the visitors leading by 2-1 in four Test matches. Virat Kohli & Men will now be hoping to acquire another milestone by winning a Test series against South Africa. India is touring Africa for a three-match Test series followed by three One Day Internationals. 

The Test matches will be played from December 26 to January 15 across Centurion, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. Ahead of the much-hyped series, (mainly on cricket betting sites in India), the backbone of India’s Test batting line-up, Cheteshwar Puajra was involved in an interactive session where he reflected on the team’s performance for the upcoming tour. 

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Pujara backed India to win the series as he believes that India’s bowlers especially the seamers are in fine form. The right-hander believes that the fast bowlers have played an instrumental role in India’s victory in the Test matches abroad and they can essay a similar role against South Africa too. 

Cheteshwar Pujara backed the Indian seamer to utilize the conditions to the maximum and pick all the 20 wickets in every Test match. India’s seamers include the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, and Ishant Sharma. 

The good thing is we have played a couple of Test matches in India: Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara

“Our fast bowlers have been the difference between the two sides whenever we have played abroad. If you look at the Australia series, even if you look at the England series, we have done exceptionally well as a bowling unit.

“I am sure that will be the case even in South Africa. Our fast bowlers are our strength and I hope that they will be able to utilize these conditions and give us 20 wickets in every Test match,” Cheteshwar Pujara added as quotes by ESPNcricinfo.

India last played a Test series against New Zealand. The home Test series saw complete domination by the Indian team as they secured a victory by 1-0. The first Test between the two sides ended in a draw while India won the second match by a massive 372 runs to clinch the series. 

Further speaking about the preparation for the Test matches, Cheteshwar Pujara reckoned that most of the players featured in the Test match and are in fine touch. The batter also heaped praises on the support staff for being there with the team and helping them prepare for the big event. 

“The good thing is we played a couple of Test matches in India. So most of the guys are in touch, and when it comes to preparation, the support staff has been excellent. They have been supporting us well and we have five or six days more before we head into the first Test.

I am sure there is enough time for us to prepare and guys are looking forward to this series. This is the best opportunity for us to win our first series in South Africa. So all of us are looking forward to it,” Pujara said.

We want to play some cricket and we are able to play cricket: Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli

Meanwhile, the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, has forced Cricket South Africa (CSA) to put up harsh bio bubble restrictions. Earlier, the authorities were planning for a relaxed bio-secure environment, however, they have now decided against it keeping in mind the safety of people involved.

Many players have often spoken about the cons of the bio bubble and how it affects the mental health of the players. When Cheteshwar Pujara was questioned in the same regard, the Rajkot-born revealed that bio bubbles are sometimes a blessing in disguise. 

The 33-year-old believes that the bio bubble helps the players in getting closer with each other as they get to spend more time with one another. Pujara exclaimed that all the players are mostly in the team room, having fun and food together which helps in building a positive environment. 

“Sometimes I feel bio-bubble helps the team environment where you end up spending more time with the team players, you are in the team room, you are having more team dinners together, so overall I feel sometimes it helps the team environment but yes, there are some challenges as well,”

The batter admitted that there are challenges of living in a bio-bubble as well. Pujara concluded by saying that he is happy to be able to play cricket despite all the restrictions and the Covid-19 scare.  

“So there are restrictions as well but at the same time you are getting to play some cricket and that’s the most important thing being a cricketer. We want to play some cricket and we are able to play cricket even in a biosecure bubble, so that helps,” Cheteshwar Pujara signed off.

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