After grappling to print his name on overseas tours, Cheteshwar Pujara finally arrived. This was a year when Pujara, the accumulator of runs in foreign conditions came to the fore. He picked the Australian bowling attack and wore them down, dragged them through the dirt and blocked everything.
With 521 runs from 1258 balls, Pujara was the man, who in his own bubble, demolished the Aussie hopes, and richly deserved the man of the series trophy.
Well, he does not have an IPL contract, he is not part of India's white-ball ambitions, but the man is not too flustered. He is a Test cricketer and takes pride in bunting down attacks. Yes, he wants to expand his game, but for him, the primary focus is Test cricket.
Will play County Cricket during IPL
"I'll be playing some first-class cricket back home. During IPL, I might be playing county cricket. Next Test series is 6-7 months away. Will give me enough time to prepare. I'll work hard on my game to play white-ball cricket. But Test cricket is my priority, it'll always remain my priority," he said in the post-match presser.
India has not been the best of starters in overseas series, and Pujara conceded that they wanted to start positively in Adelaide. Hence, he rates his first century of the series as his best.
He conceded that they wanted to start in the right frame of mind and hence, his century in the very first Test at the Adelaide Oval was special as it set the perfect tone for the series.
"First hundred was special, scoring it in Adelaide and going 1-0 up is something which we were all aiming for. When you do that, there's a good chance of winning the series. So that hundred was special," he added.
Crediting his time with County cricket, the Saurashtra-man said that he believes in a lot of hard work and preparation and this is what held him in good stead in all the overseas tours in the recent past.
"As a batsman, you just need to get used to pace and bounce. Playing in different conditions, in South Africa, in England, in county cricket has helped me improve my technique. For me it's about the right preparation," he said.
Hailing this current bunch as the best squad to be a part of, the right-hander credited the bowlers for being relentless in their approach and never allowing the Australian batting to break free. India went in four bowlers in each of the matches and this is where Pujara's praise for the attack makes all the sense.
"Definitely the best squad I've been a part of. Congratulations to the bowlers. Have been playing with four bowlers and it's never been easy to bowl so many overs. Taking 20 wickets in never easy," he added.