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India well prepared for South Africa tour: Cheteshwar Pujara

India well prepared for South Africa tour: Cheteshwar Pujara

"To be honest we haven't fielded well. There was not much turn for the spinners and the fast bowlers bowled really well, even though there was very little assistance for them".

Pujara, who became the leading run-scorer in 2017, said he was looking to improve. At the same time there have been injuries where openers have missed out, someone like Murali Vijay, who used to be at first slip, didn't play due to injury for six months.

"I won't say they are just spinners, if you look at their wickets they have done a remarkable job". We have not taken enough catches, so we are figuring out options and we will get better at it. "We will look to win the series in South Africa", a smiling Pujara concluded by saying. First, India captain Virat Kohli spilled him on 6, then Rohit Sharma dropped him when he was batting on 98.

Despite winning the three-match series against Sri Lanka 1-0, India dropped quite a few catches, thanks to the rotation of various players in the crucial slip positions.

"All players standing in the slips are taking 50 to 100 catches (during training)". We are trying to improve. But we are working hard every day and have assigned few players for overseas tours as well.

The batsmen have been in great form, though, with Pujara finishing as the highest run-getter in Tests in 2017, and Kohli racking up the runs on a regular basis.

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Looking ahead to the tough overseas tour of South Africa on which the Indian team embarks in the near future, the centurion from the first game thought that the experience of having played in the country before would be useful for him and other players. "It has been a fantastic year but there is scope for improvement". "We have already started talking about the things we need to work on". So that experience will definitely help us. I have been there in 2010 and 2013. He further added that the team management is holding discussions to fit in certain players in the certain regions on the field in the upcoming assignments. Many of our players were there in 2013, at the same time our fast bowling unit is much better now and will do a lot of damage.

Dilruwan Perera, dropped once at second slip, and Angelo Mathews, let off twice, went on to bat valuable time - Mathews scored a century - that proved to be the difference in the final equation.

"Talking about Ajinkya's form, he has batted very well overall", said Pujara. Ajinkya is going through the same thing.

"Technically, I really don't need to tell him anything". He knows, he is a hard worker, in his batting, in his fielding, in his fitness ...

In less than a month's time, India's much-improved four-pronged pace attack will get to test their skills on favourable climes and conditions of South Africa.

India and Sri Lanka will lock horns for the three-match One-Day International series from December 10, before wrapping up the tour with three Twenty20 Internationals between December 20 and 24. Cheteshwar Pujara seems to be doing okay at first slip, and he was the man left defending his neighbours after the end of the Delhi Test.


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