New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Winning the ICC Test Championship would be bigger than winning the T20 or ODI World Cup, according to batsman Cheteshwar Pujara. The 32-year-old, who is a mainstay in the Indian Test batting lineup, is expected to turn up for the national team in their two-Test series in New Zealand that starts on February 21.
“… when you become Test champions, I would say it is more than winning an ODI or a T20 World Cup. The reason is this format is the ultimate format,” Pujara told India Today.
“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 currently leading the Championship table with 360 points having won all seven matches they have played thus far. Pujara says that apart from the advantage that comes from the early lead, India are one of the better teams away from home which works to their advantage.
“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,” he 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.”
Pujara said that the fact that each Test in a series carries value makes them more competitive, which in turn goes a long way in sustaining the longest format of the game.
“To sustain Test cricket, ICC (International Cricket Council) 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.
“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.”