We are confident for the South Africa tour: Pujara

New Delhi: Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has expressed confidence that Team India was prepared and ready to face the hostile South African bowlers on green pitches.

Speaking at a press conference, Pujara described about the Kotla wicket in the drawn Delhi Test: “We have bowled well especially in this wicket. We were expecting the wicket to deteriorate a little on Day 4 and Day 5. It was a flat green wicket. There was not much turn for the spinners and the fast bowlers bowled really well, even though there was very little assistance for them.”

“The way we have bowled, our ultimate aim is to win a Test match and also try out different options for our overseas preparations. We are looking forward to the South Africa tour,” said Pujara.

Pujara was impressed with the way the spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled on a flat Kotla pitch.

He added, “If you have seen the wickets and performance of the spinners in the earlier series, they have bowled well and created pressure on the batsmen. Any wicket in India tends to offer assistance in the last two days of a Test match.”

Pujara also praised the players’ contribution for the team. It is to be noted that India has now won nine successive Test series and is ranked No. 1 in Tests.

On slip catching, where players, like Virat Kohli dropped several catches at crucial junctures, Pujara added, “Some players have been injured and have been out for a long time. I agree that our fielding was not at our best. But we are working hard every day and have assigned few players for overseas tours as well. Hopefully, we will improve our slip catching soon.”

Talking about the squad selected to play in South Africa in January next year, Pujara explains, “We are improving day by day. This is a very experienced team. We have enough experience in South Africa. Some of us have already been there and it will be a boost to youngsters like Jasprit (Bumrah) to gain some experience there. Our fast bowling unit has improved drastically and is much better now.”

When asked about Ajinkya Rahane’s poor form in the recently concluded series, Pujara backed him.

He said, “He has batted well overall. All batsmen go through a phase, where they don’t score runs. He is one of our best batsmen in the team and has scored plenty of runs in India and in overseas, especially. He is working quite hard on his fitness and batting. He will be confident to score runs in South Africa, and his experience would be crucial as well.”

He also praised Rahane’s safe pair of hands at slips, saying that he was a valuable asset to the team.

India will tour South Africa for two months (January-February 2018) and will play three tests, six ODIs and three T20 internationals. The first Test begins on January 5 at Cape Town. (ANI)