2 January 2018

South Africa: Pujara - India Can Be One of the Great Test Teams

India , currently the top-ranked side on the Test stage, can go on to be one of the great Test sides in cricket history.

That is the view of top-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara ahead of the first Test against South Africa at Newlands on Friday.

The visitors have now won nine Test series in a row, a record that they share with Australia. If they win this three-match series against the Proteas, they will break new ground and be the first side in history to get to 10 straight Test series wins.

But, despite that success, India still find themselves criticised for being a side that thrives in their own conditions and struggles away from home, particularly outside of the sub-continent.

That is what makes the next year massive for this Indian side.

Within the space of a year they will tour South Africa, England and Australia and have their Test mettle measured against the globe's very best.

If they can do well in all of those countries, then they will be considered one of the great Indian sides, says Pujara.

"We have that opportunity," the 29-year-old said from Newlands on Tuesday.

"If we do well here, in England and maybe Australia.

"This is the right time and there is no excuse because we have the experience and the team that can dominate overseas.

"If we do well this will be one of the best teams India has ever had."

Pujara has been a part of two previous touring parties to South Africa - 2010/11 and 2013/14 - and he, like his coach Ravi Shastri, believes that this time is different.

"Preparation has been fantastic so far and all of our team is very confident," he said.

"We are here to win the series.

"Most of our players have been here before. It's about knowing your game and the conditions.

"There will be some bounce from the pitch and that is always a challenge, but this time we have done our preparations so we would like to back ourselves."

On the possibility of going to 10 series wins in a row and winning a Test series in South Africa for the first time, Pujara was not getting carried away.

"We don't speak about records," he said.

"It comes naturally when you play good cricket and start winning Test matches and series. Our focus is to play good cricket ... we have never spoken about records."

Source: Sport24

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