If you stay home right now, you are fighting in the battle for your country: Cheteshwar Pujara

NEW DELHI: Hitting a lot is natural for Cheteshwar Pujara And now he wants his fellow Indians to do the same by staying home, since the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic can only be won while inside.

Pujara was one of the elite Indian athletes who attended the Prime Minister's video call. Narendra Modi on Friday to discuss ways to fight the coronavirus . The country is in the midst of a 21-day blockade.

The Prime Minister wanted us to convey the spirit of struggle of an athlete to the general public. Athletes inspire fighting, Pujara told PTI by phone from Rajkot, his hometown.

Most of us are following government guidelines on the block, but there are still some who take the virus casually. They do not realize that they could also be affected.

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Each person is a soldier at this time. If you stay home, you are fighting the battle for your own country. There has to be a collective effort, otherwise we won't be able to win this, said the India Test batting pillar.

After helping Saurashtra win her inaugural Ranji Trophy title last month, little did she know she would be spending all her time at home. Pujara enjoys forced rest, and most of her time is spent entertaining her two-year-old daughter.

The closest thing to a net hit is playing with a plastic bat.

That is also to entertain my daughter. Nothing serious. All of that can wait right now, he said.

But a home gym means that you are not compromising your fitness.

I generally take everything positively. Sometimes you need to take a break as an athlete and there can't be a better time. We have just won Ranji and it is the right time to take three or four weeks off.

Fortunately I have a gym at home. Being a small town boy, I can't go to the gym and train there (because he will be bullied). With the gym at home, I can still do my strength, cycling and running sessions. I also do yoga that helps a lot, Pujara said.

He was supposed to play county cricket in the UK, but that has also been postponed until at least May 28 and faces cancellation.

Given the current circumstances, Pujara might have to wait until the Australian tour starting in November to play his first competitive game since the Ranji Trophy final. But he is prepared for any eventuality.

I would still have some first-class games before the Australia tour. I am prepared for anything. This is the time when we can't just be thinking about sporting events. First, we have to win this battle against coronavirus, he said.

A person's life is much more important than a sporting event. All sporting events (including the Olympic Games) have been postponed. You have to be prepared since we are going through strange moments.

We just need to make sure that the virus is contained and that things return to normal. After that we can talk about the game.

Pujara has fond memories of Australia's previous tour in 2018-19 when India won its first Test Down Under series. He was named the series player for scoring 521 runs at 74.42, including three hundred. His long hours in the middle and the stellar performances of the pacemakers made the difference.

I would still say it was a collective effort. Yes, I performed exceptionally well. I'm happy about that, no doubt, but when we come back again you have to start from scratch. (The above performance) will help me for sure, but one has to prepare again. You can't carry your past glories into the current series, he signed.