The Indian legend took over as head coach during the T20I series against New Zealand. The two-match Test series against the Kiwis will be his first assignment in the longer version of the game. Speaking at a press conference ahead of the first Test, which starts in Kanpur on November 25, Pujara admitted that Dravid’s presence will be valuable.
He said, "It will help most of the players, especially young players who have worked with Rahul bhai during U-19 and India A days. Even experienced players like us, I have played with Rahul bhai. I have worked with him during A series, so all of us are looking forward to his guidance. The amount of experience he has as a player and coach of the team, helps.”
The 33-year-old was under pressure in England after a poor start to the Test series and was criticised for being too slow. He admitted that a change in mindset helped him turn a corner as he scored 91 at Leeds and a half-century at The Oval.
"Yes, I feel so. When it comes to performing, the mindset was a little different but when it comes to technique I don't think there was a major change in technique. It was just the approach and I was a little fearless which helps," Pujara agreed.
He added that he wouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself and just try and go there and enjoy the game rather. The veteran batter explained, "That was the mindset during England series. So far preparation has been good and experiences of playing in Indian conditions will help in the next couple of Tests.”
Pujara has been appointed vice-captain for the first Test since Virat Kohli has been rested and Ajinkya Rahane would take over leadership duties for the opening Test. The first Test of the two-match series will be played in Kanpur from November 25.
--By A Cricket Correspondent