India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara says runs in Duleep Trophy have given him a much-needed confidence boost ahead of the Test series against New Zealand starting on Thursday in Kanpur.
Pujara did not have a great run in the West Indies tour last month and even missed out from the playing eleven in the third Test.
It remains to be seen which eleven the team management fields in the Kanpur Test beginning on Thursday, but Pujara is geared up for the three-match series. He had played two marathon innings of 166 and 256 not out in the Duleep Trophy.
"I would agree to the fact that the Duleep Trophy double century was a sort of an innings that I needed before the start of a Test series. Actually the 166 that I scored in my first game of the tournament was the turning point. That innings brought in me the confidence," Pujara was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.
"Having said that, I feel I was batting well in West Indies as well, especially in the second game where I scored 46 runs and got run out the moment I was about to accelerate. I did get disappointed but I never let my confidence down. I knew it was just a matter of time. I am in a positive frame of mind after the Duleep Trophy. Those runs will definitely help me in the upcoming series against New Zealand. I don't think I need to worry much about my batting now," said the 28-year-old.
Pujara has not scored a Test hundred since August last year but that doesn't bother him.
"Not really. I am always positive. I always believed that I was batting well though I didn't score big runs. I spoke to Rahul Dravid and he told me that there wasn't any technical flaw. He told me it was just about changing the mental aspect of my game. The moment I started thinking positively, I told myself that it was just a matter of time before I played a big innings and things would get back on track."
Talking about the New Zealand series, Pujara said the team is focussed on regaining the number one ranking.
"It is going to be a challenging series for us against New Zealand. We have the chance to become No.1 again and the aim will be to be on top for a long time.
"The first Test match against New Zealand will be very crucial to get that momentum into the series. We have been dominant over the last few Test series and we need to continue that. They are more experienced now and they know which areas to bowl. But we know our conditions well and know how to counter their attack," added Pujara.