If India goes on to win the inaugural World Test Championship title when the take on New Zealand starting Friday, it could help the longer format, according to Cheteshwar Pujara.

Pujara, who plays just the five-day format for India, added that playing the WTC final is a big deal for him even though he would try to treat it as another game of cricket.

“I think Test cricket needs to survive and with this WTC Final, it will definitely help,” Pujara said during the virtual media conference on Tuesday when asked about if this was equvivalant to the India’s victory in the inaugural World T20 victory in 2007.

“If we win, more young players in India will want to play Test cricket. And overall, even across the world, Test cricket needs to survive and this is a very good way to do it, having this WTC,” said India’s No 3 bat.

“Personally, it means a lot as I play just one format (Tests). This is the first time we are playing this WTC Final. As a team, we have worked hard over a period of time. You have to win so many series away and at home. To be at top, it does require a lot of hard work. It’s like a World Cup final in any other format.

“This is the first time in Test format, but it’s very similar to playing a World Cup final in ODI or T20. As a team we are looking forward to the final,” he said.

Pujara agreed that New Zealand will have a slight advantage going into the final having played the two Test series against England in the lead-up.

“Well, it is (advantage New Zealand). But this is something which we can’t control. It’s been challenging times all over the world because of the pandemic. You can’t have all the luxuries of having extra time for preparation.

“The game is still going on, that’s the most important part. For all of us, we are playing the final which is very important. Even if preparation time is less, just maybe it’s little bit of a disadvantage for us but if you are ready for the challenge, even in not favourable circumstances, you still want to do well,” Pujara, who has 6000 plus runs in Tests, said.

Pujara said during the intra-squad simulation match, most of the bowlers aimed at upping their workload after nearly three weeks of quarantine. The batsmen also had centre wicket match situation as well as net training during each of the days.

“It’s getting back into the rhythm for both batters and bowlers. We have been in quarantine but we started our training and practice. So when we were out there in the middle we wanted to make the most out of it. We also had some practice wickets available even during the practice games.

“When you are in the middle, you want to make sure that the things which you’ve been working on in the nets should come along. Even for the bowlers, to get used to the workload, have 14-15 overs in the entire game which is very important preparing for the final.”

The batsmen were focussing on leaving the swinging deliveries early and intent on playing shots which they initially missed out.

“For batters, it’s about spending some time in the middle, having that discipline of leaving the balls, playing the shots which you normally play at the nets. So, getting used to the actual game, basically having that match scenario is very important for the team.”

With PTI Imputs