Cheteshwar Pujara’s position in the Indian Test cricket team is extremely important but when it comes to the limited-overs formats, the Rajkot batsman’s name may not crop up even among secondary choices. The Test specialist was former captain Sourav Ganguly’s choice as the No. 4 batsman for the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup. While Ganguly’s suggestion could have left fans baffled because Pujara’s strike rate and a lack of aggressive batting has often been questioned, there’s no doubt the Rajkot batsman is a fighter, often proving sceptics wrong.
Pujara is far from the India side for World Cup matches but he’s played for three County clubs over the last four years. And it’s inevitable he’s picked up a lot about UK. “I have played for a long time in England. With India taking on Sri Lanka at Headingley, let’s talk about Leeds,” is how he put it in an interview with OT.
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Where to eat
“Not many know that I love food. And the one cuisine that tops my list, apart from Indian, is Mexican. The spices and ingredients they use to cook the dishes always blow my mind. My favourite Mexican dish is the naked burrito. Like other English towns, Leeds has a lot of places for good food. But since I love Mexican, I would recommend the Pinche Pinche Mexican Restaurant (for fans coming to the town for the cricket matches). This restaurant is off Harrogate Road. The interiors are pretty colourful—true to its Mexican roots—and serve a combination of street food and Tex-Mex (fusion of Mexican and American) dishes. The restaurant serves amazing nachos, burritos, and the prices are easy on the pocket,” Pujara said.
“Crêpeaffaire Leeds Trinity is a café I would like to suggest for visiting fans. The café dishes out freshly-made crêpes and waffles, thick shakes, smoothies and organic barista coffee,” he added.
Heads up: Leeds retained its Purple Flag status for the third year in a row in 2019. The award recognises the city’s commitment to managing its night time economy, celebrating the work undertaken by a city to ensure visitors can have an enjoyable evening night out between 5pm-5am. So, we can safely assume the nightlife at Leeds is pretty great with bars serving real ales and delicious craft beers.
Where to shop
Did you know that the Leeds City Centre has been named the best shopping destination in the country? No wonder that’s where Pujara’s shopping suggestions begin. “I would suggest City Centre for shoppers. There are over 1,000 shops housed in beautiful arcades there. From quirky boutiques to high-end luxury outlets, there’s something for everyone. Visitors can also check out the High Street Treats, Kirkgate Market, Victoria Leeds and Corn Exchange. The High Street Treats has close to 120 shops, restaurants and bars. The Kirkgate Market—with 600 shops in total—is known for street shopping. If you are looking for something luxurious, then head to Victoria Leeds. And the Corn Exchange is more like for one-off fashion pieces, quirky gifts and vintage delights,” the 31-year-old said.
Where to go from Leeds
Leeds has a lot of art and culture on offer. “I would recommend driving down to the Lake District from Leeds if one wants to get away from the city. It’s about two-and-a-half-hours away and one of the finest in the country. It is also one of my favourite places to go to,” Pujara said. The Lake District National Park is a World Heritage site and has the largest natural park in England. The park is also home to Scafell Pike (978m above sea level), England’s highest peak, and Wast Water (258ft deep), the deepest lake. “One can go cycling around the park and get lost in the woods. Puja (his wife) and I have some lovely memories from our Lake District visits,” he added.
India play Sri Lanka in their final league match of the ICC Cricket World Cup, at Headingly on July 6