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Cheteshwar Pujara’s hard work paying off but defeat removes some of shine

Yorkshire players celebrate the wicket of Warwickshire's former England player Jonathan Trott but they were not smiling at the conclusion as Warwickshire won the  Royal London One-Day Cup match at Headingley by five wickets (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWPIX.com).
Yorkshire players celebrate the wicket of Warwickshire's former England player Jonathan Trott but they were not smiling at the conclusion as Warwickshire won the Royal London One-Day Cup match at Headingley by five wickets (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWPIX.com).
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CHETESHWAR PUJARA insists that the best is yet to come as he seeks to prove his strength as an overseas player.

The Yorkshire batsman has made an up-and-down start to the season, showing promising signs with successive half-centuries in the One-Day Cup after a string of low scores in the County Championship.

The Indian is one of the best batsmen in the world – ranked seventh in the International Cricket Council Test rankings – and he feels that he can slip through the gears in the coming weeks.

“It’s good to be back in form,” said Pujara, who top-scored with 73 as Yorkshire lost by five wickets against Warwickshire in the One-Day Cup at Emerald Headingley.

“I’ve been working really hard and hopefully I can carry on this form when it comes to red-ball cricket again.

“I haven’t had too many runs in the Championship, which is frustrating, because I prepared really well. But we’ve played on some tough pitches and you just have to accept sometimes that conditions are challenging.”

Pujara, 30, has managed only one score of note in eight Championship innings.

The right-hander struck 41 in the second innings against Essex at Chelmsford, his other scores being 2, 18, 7, 6, 9, 17 and 0.

However, on his one-day debut for Yorkshire last Friday, Pujara made 82 to help the club to a thumping 142-run win at Durham. He played well again yesterday, ensuring that Yorkshire at least had a competitive total of 247-9 to play with, Warwickshire winning with 4.2 overs to spare.

“We didn’t get enough runs unfortunately and should have scored at least 300,” said Pujara, whose 73 came from 96 balls and included seven fours.

“Our 247 wasn’t enough, but we were still able to compete and that says that there’s a great strength in this team.

“I was pleased with my innings. When you have scored many runs and are averaging more than 50, there is some pressure on you, so it was nice to get some runs.”

Yorkshire return to One-Day Cup action on Wednesday when they play Worcestershire at Headingley (11am start).

All-rounder Liam Plunkett will be in contention for Friday’s home game against Notts after his stint in the Indian Premier League.