India Test mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara considers becoming ICC World Test Championship bigger than an ODI or T20 World Cup it’s considered to be the most challenging format of the three. Also Read - Coronavirus: Pakistan Coach Misbah-ul-Haq Wants Extension of ICC World Test Championship Cycle
The ICC introduced Test championship, giving a context to cricket’s oldest format which has been fighting for relevancy since the advent of ODI and more recently T20 cricket. India are the current leaders of the championship table and the top two teams will contest in the final at Lord’s. Also Read - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia Could be Postponed: Report
“… when you become Test champions, I would say it is more than winning an ODI or a T20 World Cup,” Pujara told India Today. “The reason is, this format is the ultimate format.” Also Read - Jacques Kallis Greatest Cricketer of All Time, Says Former South Africa International Jacques Rudolph
He added, “If you ask any great cricket player from the past, even the present cricketers, they would say that Test cricket is the most challenging format of this game. And when you become world champion of Test cricket, there is nothing like it.”
India are gearing up for a two-match Test series in New Zealand that gets underway from February 21. Pujara feels the current team, led by Virat Kohli, has displayed the capability of winning Test series overseas and that is its biggest advantage over others.
Most of the teams have done well in their home conditions but when they go away, they are always challenged. Especially about the Indian team, we have managed to do well overseas. We have now started winning series overseas,” said the 32-year-old said.
“So, that is the biggest advantage this Indian team has now. Talking about the Test championship, any team who gets into the final, they have to work really hard for over a period of two years and they have to win not just at home but also they have to start winning away from home,” he added.
Pujara, who has 5740 runs in 75 Tests, has copped criticism during his international career, especially for his slow strike-rate. He, though, puts a positive spin to the criticism directed against him.
“Fortunately my family is very positive and not many things affect me. I do understand when they pass any opinion. I respect it if it is a critical part of my game. Sometimes if you take critics positively, you learn many things, so I never take criticism in a negative way, it gives me a positive vibe, which allows me to work on my game,” he said.
Pujara praises ICC’s step to introduce World Test Championship saying it will force more results. “To sustain Test cricket, ICC had to come up with something and all the cricket playing nations have to think about Test cricket. To sustain Test cricket, I think this is one of the best platforms players can ask for. And there is something to play for in each and every Test match. You won’t see many draws now,” he said.
He added, “So going forward, most of the Test matches will produce results. At the same time, even the opposition side, if they manage to play a draw, they will still get some points. Overall I think we’ll see a lot of competitive cricket at Test level. But going forward, I think we still have to do a few more things for the Test format to survive.”