Cheteshwar Pujara's comeback in the Indian Premier League is being eagerly awaited but while the Chennai Super Kings' new recruit himself is very pleased to be back in the T20 tournament, he does feel bad for his India teammate Hanuma Vihari, who went unsold in the auction earlier this year.
Hanuma Vihari, who had earlier been part of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Delhi Capitals (DC), had a base price of Rs 1 crore going into the auction but found no takers in the auction room on February 18.
Considered to be a Test specialist, Pujara is returning to the IPL after a gap of nearly 7 years while Vihari has not played in the tournament since the last two years after being released by Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2019.
“Absolutely. I’m really pleased that what I’ve done for the Indian team is noticed and I got results for that. I was told when I was picked, all the franchises clapped in the auction room.
"I feel that when you are doing something for the Indian team, people love it, they know the value I bring in. Not just the franchises, almost all my India team-mates were really happy for me. Last few years I’m the only one who has been missing out on playing in the IPL from the Indian team.
“The only guy missing out at this stage is Hanuma Vihari. I feel for him. He was previously part of the IPL. I feel that he should also be part of the IPL,” Pujara told ESPNcricinfo.
Pujara has so far played 30 matches in the IPL and scored 390 runs at an average of 20.52 with 1 half-century. CSK, who picked him up at his base price of Rs 50 lakh, will be Pujara's 4th franchise after Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings.
“I was really pleased to be back in the IPL again. This is something which you don’t want to miss out, as an Indian player. Usually, I play county cricket, but last year because of Covid-19 I missed out on that. When you love playing this game you want to play it.
"And when it’s IPL you want to be part of it. It is one of the best leagues in the world. Yes, playing for the Indian team is a different thing entirely, but when it comes to being part of the IPL, any cricketer would want to be part of it. I am no exception,” Pujara said.