Rajkot: The nerves of being Rahul Dravid's replacement in the India team have been overcome by Cheteshwar Pujara. With a Test century already etched in his name, he is high on confidence ahead of the England tour. Pujara's performances against New Zealand, including his maiden Test century, were assuring.
The only possible chink spotted was while facing the short-pitched ball. And the likes of James Anderson and Steve Finn would have made a note of it.
"I am not a bad puller of the ball," Pujara said. "I would love these guys to bowl short at me, as it is not easy in Indian conditions. They will tire sooner and it will be an added advantage for us!"
In fact, Sachin Tendulkar had a piece of advice for him while batting together against the Kiwis, something Pujara swears by. "Sachin told me to beware of Southee's bouncer because he has a dangerous one. But he told me not to think too much and just play my natural game, if I want to pull, I should."
Pujara, the India 'B' captain in the ongoing Challenger Trophy, had an extended session in the nets on the eve of his team's first game against India 'A'. "I have the Challengers and a few other domestic games before the English arrive. I hope to make full use of these matches and work hard," the stylish Saurashtra batsman said.
India's latest number three Test batsman was not part of India's annihilation in England last summer, but he is no less determined to ensure a productive series.
"Whether we play in India or outside, we look to win. And a good England series will be our first step on the way to becoming number one again."
The amount of success England enjoy may be directly proportional to Graeme Swann's performance. Pujara is determined to negate the off-spinner's threat.
"He is top class. But I will have my own plans against him. I will study his videos closely, his release, the field he sets."