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Pain of defeat will motivate Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara will be driven on this summer by the pain of India’s Test-series defeat to England on home soil 18 months ago.

England ended their 27-year wait for a five-day success in India when coming from 1-0 down to secure a momentous triumph in Alastair Cook’s maiden campaign as full-time captain.

Pujara played a starring role for India in the series - he was second only to Cook on the runscorers’ list with 438 at 87.60 - but the bitter taste of defeat remains.

With India having also suffered a 4-0 whitewash the last time they were on these shores - a series Pujara was not involved in - he has warned the tourists are motivated to inflict a second loss of the summer on England.

“I’m eagerly looking forward to playing England again because we lost the Test series in India,” Pujara said.

“There’s a pain inside all of us, especially me. We will use that pain as a motivation because we lost 4-0 to England on the last tour as well.

“I wasn’t part of the team then, but those are the performances we don’t like.

“Obviously we want to do a lot better this time, so there is a lot of motivation. Also England is one of the best places to play Test matches, so we’ll really look to show our true abilities.”

Cheteshwar Pujara is determined to help India inflict more pain on England during the upcoming Investec Test series

Pujara introduced himself to the wider English public with an unbeaten double century in the opening Test of that rubber in 2012 at Ahmedabad.

The stylish right-hander followed that up with a century in the second Test before Graeme Swann eventually dismissed him for the first time in the series after almost 17 hours at the crease.

While the contest unravelled for Pujara and his team-mates thereafter it proved the springboard for the 26-year-old to establish himself as the long-term replacement to Rahul Dravid at three.

“I was in good form in that particular series but maybe in the last two Tests I didn’t perform the way I started off,” said Pujara, who has an average of 58.92 and six centuries from 19 Tests.

“I took a lot of positives because I had started off with a double century at Ahmedabad and a century at Mumbai. Maybe the century at Mumbai meant more to me, as they were the kind of conditions that were very difficult to start off with.

“The ball was doing a bit initially when I went in and it started turning when Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann came on to bowl.

“So it was a difficult wicket to bat on, and if I could succeed on that wicket, then I think I can really take a lot from that, because I think it was the kind of wicket we’ll face in England.”

Pujara is no stranger to English conditions despite having not played a full international here.

He captained an India A tour of England in 2010, during which he hit a double-century against West Indies A at WhitgiftSchool.

“I have happy memories of England,” he said. “I remember my double century at Croydon very well.

“Playing in England will be challenging, we all know that. It won’t be the kind of wickets we get in India. But I’ve been to the UK, I've played in quite a few matches there, so I feel I can handle the conditions.

“Once you get in they are good wickets to score runs on. I’m expecting to do well.”

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