HOVE, May 1 (PTI): Cheteshwar Pujara will get a chance to sneak peek into Steve Smith’s preparations ahead of the high profile World Test Championship final starting June 7 as the former Australian skipper gears up to play three English county games for Sussex this month.
The WTC final between India and Australia will be held at the Oval from June 7-11. For the record, Pujara is leading Sussex in the red ball tournament and the skipper at No. 3 followed by Smith at No. 4 could be one of the most high profile combinations in Division two of English County Championship.
The three matches that Smith is expected to play for Sussex will be away games against Worcestershire (May 4-7), Leicestershire (May 11-14) and a home against Glamorgan (May 18-22) as a part of his preparation for the WTC final and the marquee Ashes battle against England, starting June 16.
“We have spoken, but most of the time we have played against each other. It is never for the same team, so it will be exciting to have him in the same side,” Pujara told Sussex Cricket after the recent game against Gloucestershire. “I will try and get his thoughts, try to get to know him a little better.”
Pujara admitted that it will be mixed feelings, playing alongside Smith with whom he would be locked in a tough fight within three weeks of sharing the dressing room.
“We will be playing the WTC final, so it will be a mixed feeling. On the field we always have good battles, but off the field we are good friends.”
Pujara, who is currently leading the second division batting charts with 332 runs from five innings with two centuries this season, termed Smith as a “great influence to have in the team.”
“Will be looking forward to having him in the dressing room and trying to have a chat with him, learn from him, see how he prepares because he has a lot of experience (and) the amount of runs he has scored in Test cricket.
“All of us are looking forward to having him here and sharing his experience. He has a lot of knowledge about the game so it will be nice to have his input.”