Rajkot: There is a reason why Cheteshwar Pujara is a rock when batting in the middle in white flannels for India. He has got his priorities in place.
At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is making people realise the importance of little things in life, India's ace Test batsman said he always did a sort of meditation which helped him self analyse, introspect and have better control over thoughts.
"Everyone will have learned the message that life with family is more important than the other things we do throughout the year," Pujara told ESPNcricinfo in an interview.
"Sometimes we don't have enough time for our family, for our friends. Personally, I knew this part already because I have meditated on this. Not actual meditation, but I do a prayer every day.
"It is a kind of a way where you try and analyse yourself, understand yourself a little better, have better control over your thoughts, what you want to achieve in life, what one has to contribute towards society.
"I am someone who likes social service and have always been involved in that," said the 32-year-old Test specialist who recently helped Saurashtra to their maiden Ranji Trophy title.
Pujara's deal with Gloucestershire for the first six matches of the County Championship was recently called off due to the pandemic.
"When I was in New Zealand (India Test series) I knew I was going to be playing some county cricket, but I was reading about coronavirus even then," said Pujara.
"I thought that things might get postponed because in some countries sporting events were getting cancelled. As soon as I was back from New Zealand I was playing the Ranji Trophy (final). After the second or third day, the crowd was not allowed in to watch."
Asked to name one thing outside of cricket that he misses, Pujara said: "Usually when I am at home in Rajkot, we go and play badminton on weekends on proper courts. That is something I'm missing.
(I play badminton with) my wife - she wants to learn. At times if Jaydev Unadkat is in Rajkot, he is a decent badminton player, so I play with him.
"I can't allow my wife to win. I can't allow anyone to win against me (at badminton). That is not possible. I've been telling her that she has to get better at it and win that way. I don't want to lose to make her happy that she has beaten me. As a sportsperson your mentality is to make sure that the other person becomes stronger than you."
Pujara said he also spends time with his two-year-old daughter Aditi.
"She is very energetic and wants to play all day. She enjoys our company - I'm around, Puja (Pujara's wife) is around, and my father too. We have a garden in the backyard, so I have started helping her with some gardening. I help her water (the plants), pick up the garbage. Puja and I play badminton, and Aditi likes to be engaged in her own way by being around."
He added that the talk is not around cricket these days with his father.
"During the lockdown, the talk is not about cricket. Also, Aditi wants us to play with her. I don't talk cricket with her. She only knows Jaydev (from my cricketing life). And (R) Ashwin, because Puja and she used to travel with the team when Aditi was young, and Ashwin's wife also travelled."