Pujara ‘happy’, Yuvraj ‘mystified’ while Gambhir eyes Ranji trophy after Duleep outing

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Cheteshwar Pujara’s satisfaction with his preparation, Yuvraj Singh’s surprise at his fast bowlers inability to swing the pink ball and a snubbed Gautam Gambhir’s yearning for a Ranji Trophy triumph were some of sentiments expressed after Duleep Trophy final.

“It was a good preparation for the New Zealand series and I’m looking forward to it. I like to compete and there is always a price on my wicket. I always feel when I’m set, I have to score big runs and help the team,” Pujara, who had scored of 166 and 256 not out in two Duleep matches said.

While he enjoyed playing with pink ball, he still has sighting problems when it came to picking the googly. “I enjoyed playing the pink ball, but there are challenges, especially under lights when it is hard to pick the googly,” said Pujara.

On his appetite for big runs, Pujara said it has boiled down to a habit he has grown since childhood. “Obviously, I’ve been playing a lot of cricket since childhood and I have always enjoyed scoring big runs, right from the junior days, and now it has become a habit.”

Yuvraj Singh was a disappointed man and he was surprised that his bowlers were below par. Asked about the pink ball, Yuvraj gave a surprising reply. “It’s a bit tough to comment (on the pink ball) because when we were bowling, the ball wasn’t swinging much, whereas when they bowled, it was swinging. It’s still a mystery,” the stylish left-hander said.

“Since we lost the toss and we didn’t bowl well. We missed stumpings, dropped catches. I hope to get better. The batsmen – Gambhir and Pujara – piled on the runs. Staying for long periods on the field can be tiring. Jadeja bowled well and Pankaj bowled well with the new ball,” he added.

Triumphant Blues skipper Gautam Gambhir said that now that the job has been well finished, he will train his eyes on the Ranji Trophy. “Looking forward to win it (Ranji). It’s been a while since Delhi has won the Ranji Trophy.”

He lauded the team for a professional performance. Absolutely, very professional. Toss is not in your hands, but I won the toss, fortunately. Putting 700 runs on the board was crucial.”

Gambhir felt that he wanted to break the trend where Duleep Trophy would be treated as a tournament where individuals thrive. “I think I have always felt that’s the way the game is meant to be played. I have seen captains say in the past that the Duleep Trophy is about individuals. The first day when I came in, I thought the most important thing was to get the unit together and inculcate the culture of winning in the dressing room. There is no better feeling than to lead the team to a win.

“The most important culture is winning. It’s always about winning and not about individual performances. There is no better feeling than winning and getting into a dressing room, because a winning dressing room is a happy dressing room.”

He was all praise for Cheteshwar Pujara’s double hundred.

“I thought when you win the toss and someone gets a 250, it’s fantastic, hopefully, he (Pujara) can carry this form into international cricket. It’s all about contributing, opening the batting is very important to me. I have always maintained that in a four-day or a five-day game, making a good start is important,” Gambhir signed off.

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