India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 5th day October 13, 2010

A boy with a clear mind and crisp shots

Promoted to a high-pressure role on debut, Cheteshwar Pujara showed he realised the responsibilities of Test cricket and enjoyed them
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An innocent little moment featuring Cheteshwar Pujara stood out more than the cover drives he unleashed against Australia on a fifth-day pitch.

He had played beautifully against the fast bowlers and the lone spinner to reach a quick 20 when the giant screen at the Chinnaswamy Stadium showed a highlights package during an over break. Pujara indulged. He made the others wait for four or five seconds as he watched how he looked, smashing Test bowlers around in a tricky chase. He saw he looked immaculate. It was the kind of moment most of us go through. Journalists like to see how their names look in the byline font. Actors like to see how they look once the editing is done.

They are also very personal moments. Thanks to modern technology, though, Pujara lived that personal moment live, unedited. At that point we were suddenly reminded he was just a 22-year-old boy. Never mind that the boy was making his debut. Never mind that a nasty grubber had ended his first innings three balls into the effort. Never mind that the boy had come in to bat at No. 3, in place of Rahul Dravid, when India lost Virender Sehwag early in the chase of 207. Never mind that the boy was fast ending the contest. Never mind that he knew he would have to vacate the place when VVS Laxman returns.

Never mind that the crowd unwittingly let Pujara know whose place he was taking. Sehwag had barely walked off when huge cheers started in anticipation of Dravid, the home boy. Pujara was as much a surprise to the Bangaloreans as to the Australians. If you were a debutant walking out then, you couldn't have not felt the pressure.

It was a great move, though. It gave the debutant an opportunity to show what he was made of, before being left out for who knows how long. It was surely a surprise to the opposition, who didn't know how he would react to a tight chase in Test cricket. It separated the youngsters, Pujara and Suresh Raina, and kept Dravid back in case there was a collapse.

It helped that Pujara had been told he would be batting No. 3 before the day's play began.

"He is kind of a stroke-player," MS Dhoni said. "He will play his shots if you bowl in his area. I thought the Australians would look to get him out quickly and attack him more, which is what happened. That gave Pujara the opportunity to score in boundaries." Dhoni said Pujara was up for it when told of the plan to promote him. He saw it as an opportunity to play a defining innings on debut.

The situation, though, called for more than just a boy. Or perhaps it helped that he was just a boy, with a clear mind and crisp shots. Failure was perhaps not contemplated. The scoring opportunities, as Dhoni said, arrived in due time. The third ball Pujara faced, he drove Mitchell Johnson through the covers. The grubber wasn't going to get him either. He punched it, from Ben Hilfenhaus, for four.

Pujara reserved his best for Nathan Hauritz. He came down the track to the first ball of spin he faced in Test cricket and drove it wide of long-on for two. He danced down again, driving Hauritz wide of mid-off. And then again, going through extra cover. It was the dance of the clear mind, the dance of the man who would soon see on the big screen that he belonged.

At 26 off 22, it was as if he was batting at the Madhavrao Scindia Stadium in Rajkot, in a West Zone Ranji one-dayer. Except he was setting up India's tenth-highest successful chase in Tests, at a venue where India hadn't won for 15 years.

During the lunch break Australia recovered a bit, and cut out the drive balls. By then, though, Pujara could do what he has done best in first-class cricket: play solid, risk-free cricket. He has also spent the last two or three years looking at other, less prolific, run-makers leapfrog him, and has become more positive in his approach, scoring at a higher pace - if that is what was needed to make it.

That showed in how Pujara played almost all his shots with ease, except that the cut wasn't as furious as those of India's regular No. 3. Johnson tried the short stuff, but Pujara pulled, and he kept those pulls down too. With every passing over he grew surer. He was a youngster realising the possibilities of Test cricket as he went along. He was enjoying it. He tackled Peter George's accuracy well, played Hilfenhaus' swing with the middle of the bat, and punished Johnson. He saw Hauritz, and said "Runs", scoring 25 off 19 balls from the offspinner.

It was Hauritz who ended Pujara's dream innings with his best ball of the tour, dipping and then going straight on, beating Pujara's outside edge. Disappointed, Pujara walked back, realising perhaps how close he had been to a debut century in the fourth innings of a match. He would have become only the seventh man to have scored one. Then he saw and heard the warm crowd reception, who had earlier cheered thinking he was Dravid. He raised his bat to them. They would have been just as pleased had Dravid played that innings from No. 3.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Skeptic9 on October 16, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    A beautiful and poignant article. Well done Siddharth. Hats off sir.

  • spin_king4 on October 16, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    @Gilliana, your comment is a joke right

  • AvidCricFan on October 16, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    Agreed it is too early to put Pujara on pedestal. But the aging line needs to be replenished too. The way Dravid is playing for the last two years, it looks like his self life getting close to being over. The change of guard process needs to continue. Even Laxman seems to have serious fitness problems.

  • Abhimanyu on October 15, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    Cheteshwar Pujara showed that he is in a different class altogether, and not in the Rania/Vijay/Gambhir "struggling against the short ball" class. He was busy pulling n smashing the bouncers when on the other end Murali Vijay was struggling against the same bouncers. Mark my words, he is the next Sachin Tendulkar of Inidan cricket. Player like Rania, Vijay and Gambhir are always remain the wannabes of the next big thing that Cheteshwar Pujara will become when Dravid "once upon a time" player finally retires......

  • intcamd on October 15, 2010, 14:02 GMT

    Safwan123, to say India does not deserve #1 because they did not win in Aus/SA is a ridiculous comment. Do you realize it is a ranking, and not a measure of perfection. It happened that for a decade Australia and prior to that, WI, were so perfect and dominant, perhaps we got used to a different definition of #1. But the rank simply means who is th ebest of the lot. ANd that ranking is done objectively, based on a system that all nations agreed to apriori, and India won fair and square, even if your obvious Pakistani bias does not allow you to see it. And if not India, who? Australia? They did not exactly win in India, and when India played them down under, the result was much closer, not to mention losses at home to SA, loss in Ashes, and so on. Would SA be your #1 - why? Did n't they lose to Aus at home, and they also did not win in India? Or would you prefer Sri Lanka? Yes, the Lankans record is so brilliant in Australia, SA, etc. You are so right, case closed.

  • safwan_Umair on October 15, 2010, 11:12 GMT

    every boy looks good on flat indian, pakistani and srilankan wickets. Its only when these poor souls move out and play on bowler-friendly pitches that their technical faults are exposed. India are the number one test team and have played some good cricket. But they will only deserve this number one spot if they start winning test-series abroad. A plethora of home test matches has catapulted their ranking and batting averages!

  • ladycricfan on October 15, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    Tendulkar praised everybody but forgot to mention captain genius Dhoni's captaincy. Apart from managing the bowlers, sending Pujara up the order was a masterstroke. With regular order with Dravid at 3 in the 4th innings, the chase might've taken the same pattern as in Mohali and it would've been much closer than it turned out. Dhoni has a royal touch in everything he does. Well done India.

  • Jaggadaaku on October 15, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    @ Abhimanyu and all other, Don't forget Maharashtrian opener Ajinkye Rhane carries 66.67 in 4 days first class cricket, and also good average and strike rate in domestic 50 over format. And Rhane also blasted century against current Australian team with more runs than balls. You are right Pujara and Mukund are very good choice for ODIs and Pujara and Rhane are also good choice for Test format. If the selectors of India won't look at the domestic players average, then why they made them to play domestic cricket? If this 3 players-Rhane, Mukund, Pujara couldn't get a chance in national team of India, they should apply for England county cricket teams. Rohit Sharma is the most struggler in Indian ODI team. Look at his average and look at his strike rate. His strike rate is so high if this is 1970s. These days the strike rate is below 80 won't get a chance in ODIs. But he always get a chance. May be he is a bitch of any selector of Indian Cricket Team.

  • on October 15, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    Sidharth your article to boost a new comer is really good, Pujara deserves this coz he is a prolific run scorer in domestic circuit. But this is technology world my dear friend its easy to crack u by that technology (eg Mendis mystery is no more). Even the "University of Batting" and the "WALL" were cracked by that technology. Since its his (Pujara) debut, Aussies don't know much abt him and captain clever (MSD) utilized it to perfection. Let see how Pujara performs when he is given the longer run.If he performs well then let us be happy that we got a good replacement....... in coming matches teams will come with plans to attack pujara, if he lives to the expectation then he will be a key player in future for Team India. Wish him all success :-)

  • Laxyvick on October 15, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    Most of the comments here are more rational regarding the idea of replacing Dravid with Pujara than most of the media. Yes, it is sensational to point at such possibilities, but replacing 144 tests with 1 based on that 1 test is stupidity. As the article here points out, there are only 4 occasions in India's last 50 tests when none of Sachin Dravid and Laxman have contributed.... http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/three-amigos-and-young-man.html ... that's something which makes you realise the worth of the trio ... and pushing Dravid out of the team is not what India needs right now.

  • Skeptic9 on October 16, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    A beautiful and poignant article. Well done Siddharth. Hats off sir.

  • spin_king4 on October 16, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    @Gilliana, your comment is a joke right

  • AvidCricFan on October 16, 2010, 1:46 GMT

    Agreed it is too early to put Pujara on pedestal. But the aging line needs to be replenished too. The way Dravid is playing for the last two years, it looks like his self life getting close to being over. The change of guard process needs to continue. Even Laxman seems to have serious fitness problems.

  • Abhimanyu on October 15, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    Cheteshwar Pujara showed that he is in a different class altogether, and not in the Rania/Vijay/Gambhir "struggling against the short ball" class. He was busy pulling n smashing the bouncers when on the other end Murali Vijay was struggling against the same bouncers. Mark my words, he is the next Sachin Tendulkar of Inidan cricket. Player like Rania, Vijay and Gambhir are always remain the wannabes of the next big thing that Cheteshwar Pujara will become when Dravid "once upon a time" player finally retires......

  • intcamd on October 15, 2010, 14:02 GMT

    Safwan123, to say India does not deserve #1 because they did not win in Aus/SA is a ridiculous comment. Do you realize it is a ranking, and not a measure of perfection. It happened that for a decade Australia and prior to that, WI, were so perfect and dominant, perhaps we got used to a different definition of #1. But the rank simply means who is th ebest of the lot. ANd that ranking is done objectively, based on a system that all nations agreed to apriori, and India won fair and square, even if your obvious Pakistani bias does not allow you to see it. And if not India, who? Australia? They did not exactly win in India, and when India played them down under, the result was much closer, not to mention losses at home to SA, loss in Ashes, and so on. Would SA be your #1 - why? Did n't they lose to Aus at home, and they also did not win in India? Or would you prefer Sri Lanka? Yes, the Lankans record is so brilliant in Australia, SA, etc. You are so right, case closed.

  • safwan_Umair on October 15, 2010, 11:12 GMT

    every boy looks good on flat indian, pakistani and srilankan wickets. Its only when these poor souls move out and play on bowler-friendly pitches that their technical faults are exposed. India are the number one test team and have played some good cricket. But they will only deserve this number one spot if they start winning test-series abroad. A plethora of home test matches has catapulted their ranking and batting averages!

  • ladycricfan on October 15, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    Tendulkar praised everybody but forgot to mention captain genius Dhoni's captaincy. Apart from managing the bowlers, sending Pujara up the order was a masterstroke. With regular order with Dravid at 3 in the 4th innings, the chase might've taken the same pattern as in Mohali and it would've been much closer than it turned out. Dhoni has a royal touch in everything he does. Well done India.

  • Jaggadaaku on October 15, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    @ Abhimanyu and all other, Don't forget Maharashtrian opener Ajinkye Rhane carries 66.67 in 4 days first class cricket, and also good average and strike rate in domestic 50 over format. And Rhane also blasted century against current Australian team with more runs than balls. You are right Pujara and Mukund are very good choice for ODIs and Pujara and Rhane are also good choice for Test format. If the selectors of India won't look at the domestic players average, then why they made them to play domestic cricket? If this 3 players-Rhane, Mukund, Pujara couldn't get a chance in national team of India, they should apply for England county cricket teams. Rohit Sharma is the most struggler in Indian ODI team. Look at his average and look at his strike rate. His strike rate is so high if this is 1970s. These days the strike rate is below 80 won't get a chance in ODIs. But he always get a chance. May be he is a bitch of any selector of Indian Cricket Team.

  • on October 15, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    Sidharth your article to boost a new comer is really good, Pujara deserves this coz he is a prolific run scorer in domestic circuit. But this is technology world my dear friend its easy to crack u by that technology (eg Mendis mystery is no more). Even the "University of Batting" and the "WALL" were cracked by that technology. Since its his (Pujara) debut, Aussies don't know much abt him and captain clever (MSD) utilized it to perfection. Let see how Pujara performs when he is given the longer run.If he performs well then let us be happy that we got a good replacement....... in coming matches teams will come with plans to attack pujara, if he lives to the expectation then he will be a key player in future for Team India. Wish him all success :-)

  • Laxyvick on October 15, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    Most of the comments here are more rational regarding the idea of replacing Dravid with Pujara than most of the media. Yes, it is sensational to point at such possibilities, but replacing 144 tests with 1 based on that 1 test is stupidity. As the article here points out, there are only 4 occasions in India's last 50 tests when none of Sachin Dravid and Laxman have contributed.... http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/three-amigos-and-young-man.html ... that's something which makes you realise the worth of the trio ... and pushing Dravid out of the team is not what India needs right now.

  • Gilliana on October 15, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    Drop Sehwag. His approach is 20/20 and not Test cricket. Just couldn't imagine the irresponsibility to his approach when chasing the target. If he is to be the guy that depends on luck to score a fast hundred then he should be in. 50/50 or 20/20. Give Pujara a place with Dravid to open.

  • Raja22222 on October 15, 2010, 2:37 GMT

    Fearless Pujara played well.But he has ensure the positive reinforcements consistently before replacing a proven performer.He only played 10 deliveries of Johnson and 14 deliveries of Hilfanus. Luckily he faced 65 balls bowled by the weaker bowlers.Vijay faced most of the balls of Johnson and Hilfanus and faced some tough deliveries.Also poor fielding positions and the failure of Ponting to attack a debutant with attacking bowling and fielding helped pujara. So wait before making any comments on replacing dravid who faced the best attack all around the world.Dravid is still fit and strengthen the middle order for atleast two years.

  • rohanbala on October 15, 2010, 2:15 GMT

    Pujara's tenure at the crease in the second innings of the Bangalore test against Australia, showed promise. However, it is too early to place him on a pedestal shared by his seniors. Lets hope he continues like this and proves that he has class.

  • on October 14, 2010, 22:10 GMT

    People would find this surprising.. and something the media should look into... it just baffles me how ill informed the Indian cricket media is...

    MYTH: Rahul Dravid has had a poor last 1-2 years...

    FACT: He has had a pretty decent 2 year period... Since Dec 2008, he averages 58.5... In the last 12 months he averages 55+... Thats more than his career average...

    Agreed he had a pretty poor series in Sri Lanka... The AU series was an average one... not as bad as people made it out to be... But then he had outstanding series against NZ, SL, and Bangladesh before this...

    I wonder if some media guy can pull out stats on how people have hailed newcomers as the next Tendulkar/Dravid and how many they have got wrong... I really want to see that... Can any of the zillion Sidhharths on Cricinfo do that please?

  • Laxyvick on October 14, 2010, 20:09 GMT

    @JIgnesh Patel ... even when Dravid is struggling, he averages 43 ... better than many superheroes created by the media ...and great players like him know when it is time to call it a day... let us enjoy the trio of Sachin Dravid and Laxman as long as they bless us with their presence at the wicket...http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/three-amigos-and-young-man.html ... adequately summed up

  • on October 14, 2010, 18:45 GMT

    lets perform in the upcoming sa series ,then

  • VancouverPunekar on October 14, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    Its not about Pujara should replace Dravid because Pujara is better than or as good as Dravid. Rather, its because Pujara, who seems promising and a possible dravid replacement, should replace Dravid because Dravid of late is not at his best and in fact on a decline if you look at last 1-2 years. Hats of to dhoni to atleast get this debate getting started!!

  • on October 14, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Its really great a moment to see an youngster standing tall at the crease and that too on a fifth day indian pitch which is typically characterised by huge cracks, it is really a nightmare for any batsmen were they need to work every ball out.

    After getting out to an unexpected low kept delivery in the first innings everybody would have thougt MSD is doing a blunder sending him in place of much experienced rahul dravid, but these thoughts completely faded away after seeing some of his crisp cover drives and his quick scoring ability( Thats what looked more surprising coz any batsman would have spent more time getting adapted to the conditions ). He looked even more promising when he thrashed hauritz around the park with his swift foot movement.

    With these kind of youngsters it looks like india will keep the numero uno position for years to come...!!...cheers INDIA>>>>...!!!!!

  • undertakerjohncena on October 14, 2010, 17:44 GMT

    hey guys just chill u r right that Pujara will b the great for the test he played and ofcourse Rahane and Abhinav mukund are another three gud batters for future but once again u can't compare any of them with the batting legends like Sachin,Dravid and Laxman..cause they are always at there best when they play for india..particularly Dravid on of the all time greats no one can compete no 3 position apart from him..let him njoy the game as this is his last days..dont force him to take a decision this is his last tenure before worldcup if possible India need to think about him for the world cup for sure...he should be there at any point of time...then sure India will find the sucess ultimately

  • on October 14, 2010, 17:40 GMT

    @JigneshPatel_007, God you must be a tough boss. Drop Sehwag !!!! He has scored a 50 in each of his last 11 innings and failed just in the last test and you are already planning to drop him. I bet you have never played cricked

  • on October 14, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    Certainly Pujara deserves all the praise for his noteworthy performance in the Bangalore Test. He has ideal temperament and possess all the shots in the book. In a grave situation, he batted like a champion - hallmark of a great player Of course, one has his reservations as to how the youngster would tackle the moving balls in England and the short-pitched stuff on hard bouncy wickets in Souith Africa. In a crunch situation after Sehwag's departure, in walked Pujara when everybody and the Aussies wee expecting Dravid in the middle. He counter=-attacked the Australian bowlers and took the game away from them. He struck a brilliant partneshkp with Murali Vijay who is improving every day and laid the foundation ! Imagine a wicket at that time and the Aussies would have been right on top. I liked his effortless drives of Johnson and Haurtiz and feet movements and the pull shot. The youngster possess all the shots and has displayed them to the connossieuer's delight !

  • Laxyvick on October 14, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    @shuveshek - I agree fully ... Dravid has achieved whatever he has through a 15 year period, and one day under the sun is not proof that Pujara is as good as him or even close. He has promise, but has to prove himself for long and well for him to be compared to Dravid and company ...http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/three-amigos-and-young-man.html ,as shared by Navillus, speaks about it very well. Good to see some thinking rather than impulsive fans

  • Apolloniac on October 14, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    Great great great! What a classy innings Pujara. As a south Asian first and a Sri Lankan next, I applaud the efforts of the Indian team. You guys deserve to be number one and lets see if Pujara is still around in 10 years doing what Dravid did. I am certainly betting that he WILL be. Congrats India - you've done our region proud.

  • Navillus on October 14, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    @Crick3tCr4zy: Very well put ... Wall under construction. However, the key word here is construction .... Pujara has started off well, but has miles to go before he can be regarded as another Wall. See the acticle which more or less sums this up ...http://senantixtwentytwoyards.blogspot.com/2010/10/three-amigos-and-young-man.html... Pujara's strength lies in a calmness that was visible during the fourth innings, but I'd wait till he performs in SA and AUS till he is equated with the wall.

  • shuveshek on October 14, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    Great knock on a crumbling fifth day pitch..But why is everyone talking about Rahul's retirement?Does one innings undermines what Rahul Dravid has done for Indian cricket for the country?The real test for Pujara will be if and when he faces Dale Styen on the fast pitches of South Africa...I hope and i really do he succeeds there.Rahul and Sachin should mentor him and draft him into thye scheme of things and the talk about Rahul's retirement should be on hold for sometime.Rahul is the fittest among the last lot of the fab four...And since he doesn't play the limited over format of the game he still has many years of good fruitful years for Indian cricket.Same time lets not put undue pressure on Pujara.Good knock Pujara and keep it up!! But you still have miles to go before you fill up "The Wall" shoes

  • on October 14, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    awesome article boss!!! now only we can get more better gujjus in the ODI team it would help...*cough* Irfan Pathan

  • on October 14, 2010, 12:51 GMT

    No comparisin please.Dravid earned that position by toiling for last 14years.Let him go when he feels time has come with high head.We should learn to give respect to our heros.Pujara is our future let him grow with the seniors and who knows what will be the future.Kaal kisne dekha.we requires bench strength may be Pujara,Vijay,Rohit,Raina and others will be the back bone of our cricket tem in future.Let them perform when they will get the chance.Sachin,VVS,Dravid will retire then they will be in regular basis.let them wait and make themselves mentally strong to continue be the No.1 team in the world.Well done Pujara,Vijay keep it up our future heros.May god bless them.

  • sudhs_107 on October 14, 2010, 11:04 GMT

    @Abhimanyu - Thats right. But, selectors will also see the players temperament, technique, and most important, performance in difficult situations. For example, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh averages around 37 in domestic one day record. But, they have better potential than Badrinath or Jaffar who have more exp and better records on paper.

  • Jaggadaaku on October 14, 2010, 10:51 GMT

    Yes, Dravid should retire because he is most struggler batsman in Indian team right now. If Sehwag also throws his wicket for < 30 runs in next 3-4 series, they must drop him and include Rhane (Maharashtra) and Pujara in the national team permanently. Pujara and Rhane both carry the 60+ average in first class cricket and they both are youngsters(<23 years). Ganguly, on the other hand was carrying less then 45 average in first class cricket, but got famous in International cricket. So, if these both guys get a chance in International cricket right now, they both would come out the good assets of Indian team. Once upon a time Dravid was the wall of Indian team, and right now he is still a wall but the wall made of card boards. Anyone can break it or make a hole in it. It is time to think about retire. If they would kick him out, he would lose the respect.

  • baskar_guha on October 14, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    Anyone who knows their cricket should know that Pujara and Dravid are not inter-changeable. Pujara is a run-getter with great promise while Dravid is a wicket-stopper who is needed when batting is not easy. Outside of Gambhir, no other Indian batsman has the "anchor" DNA in him as yet.

  • Ram_Bangalore on October 14, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    I don't think we should overly hype up this performance from Pujara... Unnecessary media & fan attention can cause a lot of distraction in young men like him.. He should be allowed to play and focus on his game (same with other young cricketers like Kohli, Rahane, Rohit Sharma, etc.). We do not want another one to bite the dust after getting too much attention. I'm hoping Pujara will have a steady head over his shoulders and go on to achieve cricketing heights.

  • nataraajds on October 14, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    yes, he has good temperament to be a great, now he should go on from here strongly as india's #3 batting position. we must prepare youngster to replace Sachin ,Dravid & laxman who will retire in next 1 or 2 years.. we need some one to take over strongly like pujara, Raina etc.

  • on October 14, 2010, 8:54 GMT

    Great to see Pujara grabbing the chance with both hands. Surely the next big thing in Indian Cricket. It all depends how will he handle controversies, fame, money etc. All the best Pujara. You rock big time buddy. Cheers

  • on October 14, 2010, 8:24 GMT

    No doubt about Dravid's supremacy at no 3. But it was a clever move to send in Pujara which has done the trick.

  • Percy_Fender on October 14, 2010, 8:07 GMT

    For keen followers of the game from the lower levels, it was always expected that Cheteshwar Pujara was made for the highest level. While there are others also who have above average talent and worthy of bigger things, in terms of sheer single-mindedness of purpose and committment to the game Pujara stood out from the U 19 stage itself when he was the highest scorer in the World Cup.After that he has scored a series of high scores some in excess of 300 with an eye catching regularity in domestic cricket and then in the A tours. So when his selection comes only when he is 21 years of age, it comes as a big surprise even if one knows that the trinity of greats in the Indian top order,( one of whom he was earmarked to replace), was still as good as new.As we saw against Australia in Bangalore, Pujara is very good. But let us stop these comparisons. Dravid and Laxman both have unique attitudes. They are not show ponies. That is the similarity that Pujara shares with the pantheon of greats

  • Farce-Follower on October 14, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    Most readers seem obsessed by the 'newest trick'. Never fails, except in the long run. All those calling for Pujara to replace Dravid, have, frankly no sense of cricketing history. Can't blame them, even Harsha Bhogle gets it wrong : Dumping VVS for Umrigar and Kirmani for Dhoni. MSD is the lousiest as well as luckiest player (he may be a good captain). But he usually fluffs up a couple of chances like Kamran Akmal. At least Akmal is a better bat.

  • Pathiyal on October 14, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    stop comparisons, please. pujara of course, played well....but as far as i understand the aussie attack during the fourth innings was not the same as before, not too many troubling deliveries were seen. we have just watched one match of pujara which showcased his positive attitude, intent and character and to some extent his abilities. still he has a long way to go...there are pitches outside our country which swings and bounces.... comparing with Rahul Dravid/ VVS does not hold any ground. let him work his way out to be in that league and that will take time. if we remember correctly even Rahul didnt become a legend overnight :-) neither did he pay the media to get him that brand. so lets wait, all the best to Cheteswar Pujara.

  • on October 14, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    CA pujara, yes he played well, but, pls dont praise him too much, coz many ppl praised like this and has gone out of form. And, c'mon, dont compare him with dravid... Dravid cant be replaced.. everyone has to develop their own style of batting, and just saying dravid to retire adds to the owes.. Indian team never performs well overseas esp nz, wi, australia, esp in test cricket. though the last 2 yrs have seen some dramatic improvements, still the ppl who knows to play the short balls at its best are dravid, sachin and vvs.. They can never be replaced, and let ca pujara take some more risk free time, and develop a strong batting.. Also, gauti out of form, nice for vijay, but i also wish manish pandey to be in, coz his technique is really incredible. He also deserves a chance.. really glad to see tamil players making into the team like vijay and ashwin, but surely, manish deserves a chance better than rohit and robin...

  • Vikram_Afz on October 14, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    Don't think we should get carried away with Pujara... what with a strong side like Australia playing and the pressure seemingly on blah.. Yes, he performed well.. to be expected of modern day academy-bred youngsters who also get a timely look-in by the selectors. All am saying is test him in other conditions.

    The Aussies had attacking fielders so the lad got 72. yes cuz he staved off good balls, some wicket-taking so his score built up; There wasn't that much of the famous fifth-day turn of M Chinnaswamy stadium. And 200 is not huge to chase when you come in at 30+ for 1, debutante or not.

    Not sure his hands have magic. His foot-fall when stroking is not as rythmic and also the ball that got him out... he should not have that way. C'mon it was an off spinner who wasn't even bowling the doosra or the arm ball. Slightly ungainly. Hey, Robin, Yuvi all had good India debuts... ODI.. in conditions that were moderately helpful. Only time would prove if they had the real ability..

  • on October 14, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    Pujara is good. Could replace the Wall, dear Dravid ... but NOT NOW ... needs to play 30 to 50 innings and prove solid as the WALL. by that time, Dravid might retire ( 2-3 yrs from now ). Pujara has to be careful with this bullshit media which would praise him now and will pull him down in another innings. He has to prove himself in SA, AUS, NZ, ENG. where the conditions and bowlers are different. DONT ASK DRAVID TO RETIRE... and later Lament .... as we do with Kumble the great.

  • mjesheem on October 14, 2010, 5:18 GMT

    Lets put the matters in the right perspective before we are drawn into any arguments.Here's a debutant who is asked to bat at No.3 in a pressure cooker scenario on the last day & on a deterioratin pitch.He has done well & it augers well for India!Even dravid wud b proud of the lad who played an innings that will b remembered for a long tym.He wud even b happy to think that the battin lest assured is in safe hands in the tests atleast! As far as Australia is concerned, they have a culture wherein an ex-captain does not play in the team. So for Ponting, he needs to do what he can stayin as a captain. No captaincy means the end of his career. And he is a damn gud player for that to happen pretty soon! He will bounce back :)

  • Kannepalli on October 14, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    No doubt Pujara had played an excellent innings with a strong determination and mental strength. But at the same time It is too early to decide as India found a replacement to Mr. Dependable. This knock from the new comer is really appreciable. He showed a lot of maturity in his innings with excellent cover drives and pulls. We Indians with just a single show will come to conclusions like this which spoils the performance of the yound talent. This is what happened in the case of Ishant Sharma. Rest other things became history now......The new comers perform exceptionally well in the beginning and as the days pass, the performances are goin down....Everybody should try to learn from the legends like Sachin and Dravid how they r able to still score runs at the age of 37 and 35.

  • RajitD on October 14, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    No doubt Pujara played well, and justified everything that has been written about him all these years. Lets just hope he continues with the work ethic of his hero - Rahul Dravid. Comparisons are inevitable, but we must not forget that it takes years of consistent performance before one can justify them. It is equally true that much as we'd hate, Dravid, VVS and indeed Sachin wouldnt play for more than 3 years, and if we can groom Pujara (along with other promising blokes like Rahane and Badri + Raina) then Indian batting is in safe hands...

    intcamd: Harsha Bhogle is from Hyderabad:)

  • on October 14, 2010, 4:55 GMT

    It is premature to talk about retirement of Dravid to accomodate Pujara. I wonder,our cricket frenetic fans are less intelligent.The same was happened to Kumble,when Mishra took a five wickets in Mohali,all of a sudden,talks about kumble's place in jeopardy.Then what happened,where is Mishra stands now,Mishra is going to be out of test team very soon.I am not saying that Pujara is 'flash in pan', and i quite observed him from long ago,i was sure,he will enter into test team and quite in Dravids' boots. But, the time has not come, Dravid is a Legend,Pujara should be with our test team and he will slowly gain experience and after few years,he can become a regular test member. Wait for the time, don't jump into conclusion like small boys...hey guys, RAHUL DRAVID IS A BATTING MAESTRO

  • vinaykmr on October 14, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    well dn pujara. u made ur debut remarkable. u stated it was ur mother's dream that u wud play test match for the country n u fufilled her wish, not merely by making debut but by making a mark of urs in debut match. many more such innings expected frm u. all d best.

  • Aussasinator on October 14, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    Pujara is here to stay. It would be wise to keep him now firmly in the No. 3 slot. Dravid should go lower down at No. 5 or 6 and maybe Suresh Raina should get the axe when Laxman is brought back. Dravid has this way of handing back the advantage to the opposition after an initial onslaught by Sehwag and since Test cricket is now not just about defending for a draw but to counter attack your way to victory, Dravid's relevance to the team has diminished. The way to groom the next generation team is to blood them while the seniors are going out in phases. 3 kids to replace Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar in one go would be disastrous. Right now Dravid should take the hint and quit. The team does well whenever he bats lower down, like it used to be during those one dayers long ago and during that epic Test at Eden Gardens when Laxman was promoted ahead of him.

  • prasanth.kongati on October 14, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    I strongly think that it is a good ploy of Dhoni to show way out to Dravid. I sense Dhoni being uncomfortable till he becomes the most experienced player in the team. By all means Dhoni is still a lucky player and captain

  • on October 14, 2010, 3:59 GMT

    @Subash Manickam nicely said Subash... Yes he is playing well...Lets give him more chance, preferably outside India.Then we will decide whether he can replace WALL!!!!

  • perl57 on October 14, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    Never before 1989 have I seen a player so hyped in Indian cricket come and live upto expectations. There were many hypes from Kambli, Ajay Sharma to as latest as Rohit Sharma. It remains to be seen how Pujara would avoid doing a rohit sharma or a Raina, who came at 19 and struggled and came back again. One of the best things is Pujara is not in ODIs and that gives a chance to him to work our his ODI skills. Good Luck to him as south africa series defines what he is just like Oz series defined what Sachin was. But thats another story. Sachin is the greatest cricketer who makes Bradman look like a peewy. Others can not even come close to him in class.

  • Hutchinson on October 14, 2010, 3:43 GMT

    It was good to see Pujara scoring against quality pace bowling..Among all fresh talent Pujara & Virat Kohli look the best contenders for replacing the Trio of Sachin,Dravid & Laxman.Rohit sharma can only score in IPL & domestic circuit,pity that Badrinath has already crossed age.Ajinkya Rahane is good but doubt he can perform on in swinging & bouncy conditions.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on October 14, 2010, 3:36 GMT

    For perhaps the first time, I too join the chorus of drop Dravid, bring Pujara. Dravid is a legend whose contribution is every bit as monumental as Tendulkar, but no one's above the team. India needs avoid the mass exodus that happened to Australia recently and the only way we can do that is to make sure that the veterans retire in a phased manner so that their replacements can be groomed to take up the responsibility. We need the Rainas and Pujaras ready BEFORE the Tendulkar and Laxmans go out forever.

  • anikbrad on October 14, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    happy to see CP in action in tests. The selectors must understand test and t20 is not same I always say utthapa should be in t20 team even he is better than shewag there but in test no-no. Though I hope as selector on srikanth is nil, he thinks that technically raina is better than pujara thats why his avg was 30 in ODI and Tests. In next 3 years dravid tend, and lax would retire. If india needs to be NO1 after that we need PUJARA, MUKUND, A. RAHANE IN THE SIDE OF TEST. DO ANY ONE AGREE. BUT THE GRIM SITUATION IS WE WILL SEE THE TEST BERTHS GOING TO ROHIT, KOHLI AND MAY BE JADEJA AND THATS THE BACK FUTURE OF INDIA. ONLY SILVERLINING IS THAT SRIKANT WILL RETIRE BEFORE THAT. PLEASE CAN ANY ONE TELL WHEN WILL SRIKANTH RETIRE ?????////

  • on October 14, 2010, 2:58 GMT

    I am proud of C.Pujara. Now it is up to selectors to give him chance.For which I have my doubts as he is from Modi"s Gujarat state. He and P.Patel could have been selected even in One day side.See how many chances have been given to R.Sharma And V.Kohli.dr.shrikant.desai

  • on October 14, 2010, 2:40 GMT

    Dear Sid, Dont be so dramatic in your narration. Be simple, give the kid some time in international cricket. Let him become consistent. You can write on Sachin, as he has proved everyone what he is...not this one yet. So hang on for sometime.

  • Romeo248 on October 14, 2010, 2:15 GMT

    This is nothing comparing him n dravid..Dravid is a world class player n india will surely miss him when he is gonna retire..all this shows is how strong india's bench strength is..it has improved dramatically in last couple of years..strong as old aussies did...hats off to dhoni for uspporting n grooming talented players....

  • ebbie-qld on October 14, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    These sort of articles more often than not, eventally get the writer caught with egg on their face. Many times a player has a wonderful first game, series or year and then comes back down to earth with a thud. Hussey, North and Sharma are just a few of the many who "are the next great Thing in cricket". Please give them a bit more time before writing that they are amazing. Give them 5-10 years, like Tendulkar , Laxmann, and Ponting then start giving the wonderful praise. For now , he is a good player. See what happens over the next few years.

  • AndrewFromOz on October 14, 2010, 1:21 GMT

    This kid looks the goods. Well played.

  • shovwar on October 14, 2010, 1:14 GMT

    India would still have to win in SA to retain the no.1 status....Losing to SA would hand SA the no.1 status and slide to no.2 this November. The real battle starts this November and SA team is a harder opponent than Aus team at the moment given the form and place where the test is being played....Great played against OZs at home...Best of luck against SA away from home.......

  • Balumekka on October 14, 2010, 0:57 GMT

    Earlier I had some doubts about the India's test rank of no:1. But they really have proved the world that they deserved to be No:1. Congratulations from Sri Lanka!

  • Jaggadaaku on October 14, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    Yes, Dravid should retire because he is most struggler batsman in Indian team right now. If Sehwag also throws his wicket for < 30 runs in next 3-4 series, they must drop him and include Rhane (Maharashtra) and Pujara in the national team permanently. Pujara and Rhane both carry the 60+ average in first class cricket and they both are youngsters(<23 years). Ganguly, on the other hand was carrying less then 45 average in first class cricket, but got famous in International cricket. So, if these both guys get a chance in International cricket right now, they both would come out the good assets of Indian team. Once upon a time Dravid was the wall of Indian team, and right now he is still a wall but the wall made of card boards. Anyone can break it or make a hole in it. It is time to think about retire. If they would kick him out, he would lose the respect.

  • insightfulcricketer on October 14, 2010, 0:48 GMT

    Kumble is a legend but is India missing him? Same goes for Dravid. I think once the England tour finishes next summer might be the best time for Dravid to hang his boots. It has been obvious that last one year or so Dravid is playing by rote not passion. No.3 is a pivotal position for any team and succession to that spot should start. For starters Pujara should compete for Raina's spot in the South Africa tour. Playing a pumped up South African team at their home should be a good place for Pujara to make statement on his long term caliber. South African like Australians has great ability to quickly separate quality from chaff.

  • Predator89 on October 14, 2010, 0:16 GMT

    its nice to see young players grooming under the best Indian team . hats off to srikanth in selecting right members for the series . match like this boost the confidence of the young players . i think India is ready for the transition unlike Australia who are struggling for past few years . the thing we have to accept is there is no class player who can replace SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR :( :( :(

  • dissapointed on October 13, 2010, 22:52 GMT

    Subash Manickam: "Legends" like Dravid are the reason why India took a 2-0 scoreline against Australia. Australia lost Langer, Hayden, Gilchrist, McGrath and Warne in 18 months.... Legends should time their exit making sure that they don't leave a void. How do you think India got to number 1? They didn't improve, the number 1 side declined dramatically. Do you think this Indian team could have beaten the 2006-2007 Australian side.... NO! These legends need to keep their country and the health of cricket in their mind, not just the personal enjoyment and pay checks... India may be number 1 now, they will be a laughing stock in the next 24 months if players don't make way today.

  • manasvi_lingam on October 13, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    Pujara has some way to go, but he has the right temperament. Will he step up? Only time can tell.

  • sam_hoque on October 13, 2010, 22:22 GMT

    Has anyone noticed that Tendulkar is currently the Number ONE Test Batsman in the world.. Not to mention that this is his 21st year in international cricket..

  • 114_in_final_Six_overs on October 13, 2010, 22:15 GMT

    @intcamd: By that argument Dravid can play till he is 77 as no one can replace him. Yes, he is India's great and we love him but as any other player he will be on the downslope one day. And I think he already is. Look at his stats for last 10 tests and no one is irreplaceable, and not long time ago in 1996 he was himself one test old and I remember watching that game.

  • on October 13, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    Pujara Played exceptionally well no doubt on that. But still comparing with Legend like Dravid is not at all fair at this moment. Dravid the one who earned the name Wall. Cannot be replace by anyone. Such a wonderful player he has been. As Gangully stated one time that you may get so many gangullies in India. But you can get very few Dravids....Very few

  • CRICK3TCR4ZY on October 13, 2010, 21:00 GMT

    another WALL under CONSTRUCTION.......

  • on October 13, 2010, 20:16 GMT

    indian got nather one best cricketar, pujara.

  • intcamd on October 13, 2010, 19:52 GMT

    sid_iima: I am not sure about the Kaif to Tendulkar anology, as far as Siddarth Monga to Bhogle; the latter is well known to speak from his vantage position on top of the fence. For instance, look at his vote on the India all time X1 where he picked his Mumbaikar hero Umrigar and voted to dump Laxman, and a few days later wrote up a glowing article on Laxman about how VVS is underappreciated. So, let us go easy on all this hero worship of HB, shall we?

  • intcamd on October 13, 2010, 19:46 GMT

    the fools calling for Dravid to retire, and to be replaced by Pujara - you are all the perfect momentum guys; I suspect most of you would have bought US housing in 2006, and bought technology stocks in late 1999. Yes Pujara looks good, and yes he had ONE good innings, on an INDIAN pitch. But, that is ONE innings on an INDIAN pitch that did not bounce, and not much more. And btw, Dravid scored 10,000 more runs than him, and is still the one we look to, as soon as the ball starts bouncing more than waist high, and as soon as Sehwag departs.

    I guess many of you also called for Kumble to retire to be replaced by Amit Mishra during the last tour of Australia. I too hope Pujara is better than Mishra for India, but there are no guarantees, and for one test Mishra too looked good. Oh, not sure where he is now.

  • aruhaan on October 13, 2010, 18:39 GMT

    media,plz dnt put pressure on dravid to retire after just 1 innings from PUJARA.Dravid been the waal for ao many years even in foriegn conditions cant be compared to pujara with 1 innings.One good match from AMIT misra and all media made the legend Kumble to retire ,who should have been the spin spearhed for at least 2 more years,just see whr is misra after that

  • on October 13, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    Great knock by Pujara.It was a mesmerising inning. We would like to see him more. He looks very solid. Lets not say if can replace Dravid or Laxman. Dravid, specially because he is a proven match winner in abroad.

    Please stop asking legends to hang their boot.Players like Dravid and Tendulkar knows what is best for the team and they will retire at the appropriate time.

    Time will let Pujara speak of himself. Have patience!

    All the best to Pujara.

  • rick333 on October 13, 2010, 18:23 GMT

    BTW, to all who is already thinking or rotting for Pujara to usurp Dravid at # 3; please no kidding. "The Wall" is legendary; India still needs him to bail the team out on tricky pitches and / or against a strong bowling attack. This Aussie bowling attack looked very ordinary.

    Let along batting at #3, ignore for the time being Dravids rock solid defence and the crisp drives and cuts - Do we have a replacement to him as a slip fielder. Keep in mind that acrobatic catches taken by youngsters Raina/kohli while is very appreciable, slip fielding demands much more - concentration and anticipation over 5 days for each and every ball. Patience and immense concentration almost Monk like is what sets the Best (Dravid) apart from the better ones.

  • rick333 on October 13, 2010, 18:16 GMT

    Great knock under pressure. But to me, it was Dhonis master stroke that did the trick. Aussies put lot of planning in the drawing room and hence was caught surprised when Pujara walked in No 3. Dhoni, unlike Ponting is very impulsive and his plans are very fluid. Perhaps the plan of Pujara being sent in #3 distinguishes the two great captain Dhoni and Ponting. Dhoni is street smart and Ponting over the years started to trust computer generated analysis and statistics to profile a player.

  • Ganes.V on October 13, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    We have been hearing about Pujara for quite some time now.He was doing well in rani & other matches he played.Well he got a real bad ball in the first innings when he didnt expect it! He got a similar ball in the second inings too- & he was ready for it this time -hit it for a four.He had decided that he is not going to play like a debutant-He just dcided that his debut was over inthe first innings itself & now he showed he can play a matured innings with beautifully carved strokes all around the wicket.I am sure he is here 2stay in the side as he has better abilities than Raina to play the short deliveries.Will have to see him in bouncy tracks though! Indian wickets are not as fast as we see in Australia England or South Africa.So the real test is yet to come but I still believe that he can do it in the highest level.He actually proved today by playing a stupendous knock.Sincerely wish him all the very best for a very bright future in test and one days for India GOODLUCK& GOD BLESS

  • on October 13, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    happy for pujara................all the best .............keep it up........nice to see u in indian team.............have a gr8 future ahead...........

  • on October 13, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    I thought of an acronym for Pujara... PUJARA = Perfectly Uninhibited, Joyful Audacious Runmachine Arrived!!! Pl help me in modifying from here!

  • Sid_iima on October 13, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    Dear Mr Monga, I've been reading your articles here for quite some long time. Am I the only one to see a distinct drift in your style off late: it's getting more and more tangential and hyperbolic. I'm sure many other readers would agree that it's pretty obtrusive on your part. Are you knowingly/unknowingly trying to emulate a certain HB? You'll know better that it's not just the cheeky paddle sweep, which even perfected, would turn a Mohammad Kaif into Sachin Tendulkar.

  • BMayuresh on October 13, 2010, 17:57 GMT

    A guy who was chosen in squad to replace VV Special Laxman and was given the promoted to play the role of the Wall and surely he did prove the decision to be correct. I don't want to compare him with the maestros but surely he did fill in the shoes of greats at least in this match. The time will let us know if we have found a replacement in him for either of the Masters of the GAME.....Kudos to the lad and he need to learn one more lesson from SRT and that is to keep your feet on ground no matter how successful you are.

  • anonymousfan on October 13, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    Pujara has the potential to become the ideal replacement for Dravid. He must be groomed carefully from now on. However when will Dhoni show some performance ? He is fast becoming a non - playing captain for India.

  • on October 13, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    Time for Dravid to get retired soon...As his age caught up.He has provided excellent services to Indian cricket for 14years...He is not the same dravid,what he was back to five years so..Let youngster look for the opportunity,,and try to hang dravid boot,,which is not easy taks to replace him...But days will ensure,,,whts going to happen in next generation .The Wall,crumpled ..

  • rohitgharat16 on October 13, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    Pujara has amazing talent....he has proved it in the domestic circuit....and he proved it today...Hopefully the selectors give him sufficient chances and not make the mistake of getting out of sorts Yuvraj back in the team.

  • on October 13, 2010, 17:45 GMT

    Nicely written article. Pujara deserved these accolades and its nice to see that they are rewarded...in time.

  • arun_cheers on October 13, 2010, 17:43 GMT

    Pujara should be the option in one day as well instead that rubbish Ravindra Jadeja, that way atleast two departments will improve for india - batting and fielding !!! Make a note this - Mr. Captain MSD.

  • on October 13, 2010, 17:40 GMT

    luvv the stuff qht u wrote Sidharh...for the first time im commenting on cricinfo...hav been follown this site for 5 years...bt felt its the tym for sendin a comment of thanks...jusst luvd this article...

  • ThalaivanIrukiran on October 13, 2010, 17:35 GMT

    I wonder how people can jump into conclusion about Dravid being forced out from "His" 1 down slot after one good innings from Pujara..For all those, just remember Dravid's debut innings in England in more trying conditions.

  • sweetspot on October 13, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    This kid is too special. Just the temperament alone made him look like he's been doing this for a long time. But I think Dhoni's masterstroke was in ensuring Dravid did not make batting look difficult, again. He sent Pujara out to make a bold statement - the young brigade can take over and wants the responsibility. This augurs very well for Indian cricket. It is just fantastic that Dhoni puts so much trust in people with ability. It will take a lot to dethrone India from that #1 spot if this attitude continues.

  • on October 13, 2010, 17:12 GMT

    I became fan of Pujara 's batting and according to his struggle to make in national time , i like to call him a fighter..

  • SnowSnake on October 13, 2010, 16:46 GMT

    I think it is time for India to remove Dravid from test batting lineup and replace him with Pujara. Also, Dhoni's slot should be put on life support for he has not played a significant innings, and has been dropping catches.

  • on October 13, 2010, 16:44 GMT

    Phenomenal display of courage under fire!Positive signs for Indian cricket & should be nurtured. Extraordinary faith shown by the Capt Dhoni! Absolute master class in leadership & appetite for risks! Lets not forget these heroes (Vijay & Pujara) while celebrating the biggies!!!

  • vish2020 on October 13, 2010, 16:40 GMT

    This Pujara fellow is more than just special..After watching other less talented players beat him to test and one days as he kept scoring runs, he has mastered the art of patience! Even after what happened to him in the first innings and still to come back on day 5 in a tremendous pressure situation is quite simply amazing! This is for sure, of all the young players in India, he was the best one who never got an opportunity and today he showed why he is the BEST young player in India (compared to Rohit, Kohli, Vijay, Yuvraj, and even Raina because this guy was playing short balls like an australian) Notice, he got out because of super deliveries that anyone could have gone out with! It wasn't as if it was his weakness that got him out! India has again found a jewel!

  • Farce-Follower on October 13, 2010, 16:36 GMT

    Well done, Pujara...you have done Indians proud...but # 3 is the preserve of just one class act - Rahul Dravid. Let's hope the team management is sensible about this.

  • SudheerPusuluri on October 13, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    Beautiful innings from Pujara..sure there are more to come from this future of Indian cricket..He has the best team around him to guide him at this stage with the seniors waiting for their heirs..We should commend Dhoni for this tactical change which not only surprised Aussies but also taken the game almost away from them by the time they realised what is happening..India really played like a No.1 team..BCCI should also be appreciated for giving Puajara the chance at the right time..

  • MADHURSANGEETH on October 13, 2010, 16:17 GMT

    dhoni thank you very much to send pujara ahead of dravid you did it........

  • --.-- on October 13, 2010, 16:16 GMT

    Is it only me who thinks that he is looking like Younis khan in this pic ?

  • manasvi_lingam on October 13, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    Pujara is a great find, but these are early days. he is a run machine, but also scores at a good rate and plays spin very well. Another man who will soon come into the reckoning is Rahane.

  • 11Noobs on October 13, 2010, 16:08 GMT

    Super innings from Pujara and an excellent move from Dhoni to promote him (easy to say in hindsight of course). Is it goodbye Dravid?

  • on October 13, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    A great innings by a debutant Pujara . He is going to stay for long long time in Indian cricket

  • Evangelyst on October 13, 2010, 15:46 GMT

    Well done Pujara.

    Putting yourself in the youngster shoes - Just imagine the situational pressure on you which allows your temparement to shine through

    To begin with 4th innings chases above 200 are always tricky. India had almost lost the 1st test in a similar situation, but were rescued by Laxman's heroics. You have replaced Laxman in this test. India had lost Sehwag early and bowlers would be looking for the kill through quick wickets. You have failed in the 1st innings of your debut test making only 4. The debut has come after a interminable wait, when other youngsters seemingly have moved ahead of you. Bangalore crowd is expecting Dravid, hometown legend and you walk in at No 3 instead of him to try to take India to a win. Bangalore is a place India has not won for several years.

    The way Pujara responded to all the above pressure of the situation makes me believe he can potentially be a world class batsman for India.

  • on October 13, 2010, 15:41 GMT

    Very Impressive....That too on debut! Hopefully he continues this kind of form and temperament!

  • vip289 on October 13, 2010, 15:41 GMT

    Good Article. Very glad to see that he was sent upfront and given a chance to prove his mettle. And that he did it in the same way he's known to destroy Ranji trophy rivals. Cheers to him. Welcome to the team. Hope this is the beginning of a successful international career for him.

  • Navillus on October 13, 2010, 15:40 GMT

    I would say it was a master stroke by the team management. a free flowing debutant can play with freedom if he knows there is a cushion of 25000 test runs waiting in the pavillion if he is out. It would be quite different if Dravid and Tendulkar batted early in the innings with the threat that if they were out, the next man in would be a debutant or a 3 test old Raina. And Pujara's stroke play ensured that India pulled it off before the reversing old ball came into play.

  • GeekyCricket on October 13, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    Perfect script and a perfect start to pujara's test career. A job very well done. I wish we had another test instead of the one dayers.Test cricket was at its best during this series, long may it continue.

  • indianpunter on October 13, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    Take cue, Dravid. Time for you to retire. Pass the baton, RD. I am certain that if Dravid had come in at 3, he would have killed momentum and then gotten out, with the Indian score likely to be 60/3 at that time. Pujara showed how a test number 3 should play. Attack, play positively and show intent, none of which can be said about the fast fading Dravid.

  • UnBiased_True_Cricket_Lover on October 13, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    Wowww!What an innings is that from this debutant!Even the Oz might have been completely shocked to see him come at no.3 and then play those kinda shots under crunching pressure.Fascinating stuff that from Pujara..

  • Uresh_sachinfan on October 13, 2010, 15:24 GMT

    after 2011 its pujara who is going to take pujara's place

  • UltimateCricExpert on October 13, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    It was a master stroke from Dhoni sending him ahead of Dravid. Actually I expected Raina in that place as he can bat aggresively, but Pujara also did the same. I appretiate Dhoni, even though he is not performing with bat, he is encouraging his talented youngsters and giving them oppurtunity to prove themselves. Many people wouldn't have realised the class of Pujara, if he was not batting at No. 3 today.

  • Ankeetsinha on October 13, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    Brilliant stuff.. it just shows that hard work and self belief pays.. I have been following this boy on the domestic circuit and it was heartbreaking to see him not selected for the Indian team. Well played boy.. u will do well :)

  • Rohit-Gore on October 13, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    A serious serious dilemma for the selectors. One thing that seperates him from others - ability to handle, and even score off, the short ball. Again, and I know we will trumpet the cliche, he needs to prove himself on bouncier and seaming pitches. Maybe the BCCI, with all its might, should be able to organize a round the year engagement for the 'A' teams. Folks like Pujara, Sharma, Vijay should be slugging it out against the tier 2 Australian and South African teams. Thoughout the year. A parallel series of 'tests', if you will. Perhaps, and now I am officially into the land of hyperbole, but BCCI should ask the SA board to have a prallel series for the upcoming Indian tour itself. If they can transfer the entire IPL overnight to SA, surely they can do this. It will at least take care of the 'seaming and bouncier' pitches cliche.

  • bluebillion on October 13, 2010, 15:12 GMT

    Hate it when journalists do this. Praise him ofcourse because he truly deserves this. Dont make him a hero already. Let him play a few more tests and let him show he belongs by being consistent. It will be the media (im sure half of them have aready started digging his grave to use when he does not perform) who will blast him when he doesnt do well. Dont make Pujara a Duminy or a North (both of whom played similar knocks at the start of their careers). Please.

  • on October 13, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    This guy is gonna be the next big thing.....He is yet to be tested on more difficult situations.....but he clearly has the temperament and talent required to succeed....He could well determine how long India will be the No. 1 in tests..........Way to go Pujara,...

  • --.-- on October 13, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    Sending him in @ No. 3 served two purposes. First: He got his opportunity to show the selectors the he indeed is a Test Match material. Second: While chasing 200+ target against a team like Australia that too on a 5th day pitch that too without VVS Laxman, you needed an experienced batsman like Dravid down the order if the top-order fails. But thankfully Pujara scored runs when it really mattered, and Sachin & Dravid made sure that they finish the job.

  • kdcricket on October 13, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    Mark my words, he is the next Indian batting superstar...period.

  • Koushik_Biswas on October 13, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    Great maturity, awesome temperament. Perfect example of how the new generation is influenced by Sachin's style and attitude of dominating the bowling no matter what the match situation is (not the dominance that Sehwag practises - this is the kind where you remind the bowler that all bad balls are going to disappear, and all good balls will meet a dead bat). My jaws dropped at what I saw Pujara doing on the first ball he faces from Hauritz. Dancing down the track! Then again! Then again! I say to myself: Who am I watching? The next Sachin? I remembered the dances that Sachin showed us against Qadir and Warney. Too early to say - but the potential is there definitely. Request to selectors - please please do not keep this genius away from the willow. He should take Dravid's place - a move that is good for even Dravid himself. I can see million accolades awaiting Dravid if he retires now. But not when he fails 10 more times. taking nothing away from him, Dravid needs a break.

  • --.-- on October 13, 2010, 15:02 GMT

    Batting @ No. 3 was never going to be easy as specialist batsmen bat @ this position. But he kept his cool and kept India on track. I liked the way he completed his half-century, A short-ball from Watson and he pulled it for four. He took responsibility and made this target look easy. I think, he averages around 60 in domestic Cricket, he deserved to be in Test team and he is a good fielder too. Way to Go, Pujara. This is just a start. You have to work very hard to cement your place in Indian side as there are other batsmen too who are knocking the doors. Good for INDIA !

  • BHARATLIFE on October 13, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    CA Pujara..... well he looks good. Let us hope that the media does not scrutinize or praise him too early. Let us hope he ultimately replaces Dravid /Laxman/ Tendulkar who ever decides to hang their boots first. I do not follow the Domestic cricket, but i think CAP along with RG Sharma form a strong middle order with Raina -> Laxman and Dhoni-> Ganguly I think we have our good old team......

  • Abhimanyu on October 13, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    Pujara and Abhinav Mukund have the best averages in the domesic 50-over format. Pujara averages 57.08 and Abhinav Mukund has 58.18. Why can't these 2 be in the ODI squad? when players like Rohit Sharma who only averages 33.37 and Saurabh Tiwary average 39.10 are in the squad. Other players averages: Virat Kohli has 45.41, Ajinkya Rahane 40.41, Robin Uthappa 32.93, Ambati Rayudu 32.56. Reality check!! for everone here who are shouting for such players to be included, according to the stats and pure talent, Cheteshwar Pujara and Abhinav Mukund are the ones who should have been selected for the ODIs. This type of selection format indicates that the selectors are only considering IPL performances not the domestic 50-over format for the ODIs selection. Selectors are also sending a message that the players who are good enough to play TEST cricket are not good enough to play ODIs. All selectors should get sacked for this type of selection and for selecting "useless" Ravindra Jadeja.........

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  • Abhimanyu on October 13, 2010, 14:56 GMT

    Pujara and Abhinav Mukund have the best averages in the domesic 50-over format. Pujara averages 57.08 and Abhinav Mukund has 58.18. Why can't these 2 be in the ODI squad? when players like Rohit Sharma who only averages 33.37 and Saurabh Tiwary average 39.10 are in the squad. Other players averages: Virat Kohli has 45.41, Ajinkya Rahane 40.41, Robin Uthappa 32.93, Ambati Rayudu 32.56. Reality check!! for everone here who are shouting for such players to be included, according to the stats and pure talent, Cheteshwar Pujara and Abhinav Mukund are the ones who should have been selected for the ODIs. This type of selection format indicates that the selectors are only considering IPL performances not the domestic 50-over format for the ODIs selection. Selectors are also sending a message that the players who are good enough to play TEST cricket are not good enough to play ODIs. All selectors should get sacked for this type of selection and for selecting "useless" Ravindra Jadeja.........

  • BHARATLIFE on October 13, 2010, 15:01 GMT

    CA Pujara..... well he looks good. Let us hope that the media does not scrutinize or praise him too early. Let us hope he ultimately replaces Dravid /Laxman/ Tendulkar who ever decides to hang their boots first. I do not follow the Domestic cricket, but i think CAP along with RG Sharma form a strong middle order with Raina -> Laxman and Dhoni-> Ganguly I think we have our good old team......

  • --.-- on October 13, 2010, 15:02 GMT

    Batting @ No. 3 was never going to be easy as specialist batsmen bat @ this position. But he kept his cool and kept India on track. I liked the way he completed his half-century, A short-ball from Watson and he pulled it for four. He took responsibility and made this target look easy. I think, he averages around 60 in domestic Cricket, he deserved to be in Test team and he is a good fielder too. Way to Go, Pujara. This is just a start. You have to work very hard to cement your place in Indian side as there are other batsmen too who are knocking the doors. Good for INDIA !

  • Koushik_Biswas on October 13, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    Great maturity, awesome temperament. Perfect example of how the new generation is influenced by Sachin's style and attitude of dominating the bowling no matter what the match situation is (not the dominance that Sehwag practises - this is the kind where you remind the bowler that all bad balls are going to disappear, and all good balls will meet a dead bat). My jaws dropped at what I saw Pujara doing on the first ball he faces from Hauritz. Dancing down the track! Then again! Then again! I say to myself: Who am I watching? The next Sachin? I remembered the dances that Sachin showed us against Qadir and Warney. Too early to say - but the potential is there definitely. Request to selectors - please please do not keep this genius away from the willow. He should take Dravid's place - a move that is good for even Dravid himself. I can see million accolades awaiting Dravid if he retires now. But not when he fails 10 more times. taking nothing away from him, Dravid needs a break.

  • kdcricket on October 13, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    Mark my words, he is the next Indian batting superstar...period.

  • --.-- on October 13, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    Sending him in @ No. 3 served two purposes. First: He got his opportunity to show the selectors the he indeed is a Test Match material. Second: While chasing 200+ target against a team like Australia that too on a 5th day pitch that too without VVS Laxman, you needed an experienced batsman like Dravid down the order if the top-order fails. But thankfully Pujara scored runs when it really mattered, and Sachin & Dravid made sure that they finish the job.

  • on October 13, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    This guy is gonna be the next big thing.....He is yet to be tested on more difficult situations.....but he clearly has the temperament and talent required to succeed....He could well determine how long India will be the No. 1 in tests..........Way to go Pujara,...

  • bluebillion on October 13, 2010, 15:12 GMT

    Hate it when journalists do this. Praise him ofcourse because he truly deserves this. Dont make him a hero already. Let him play a few more tests and let him show he belongs by being consistent. It will be the media (im sure half of them have aready started digging his grave to use when he does not perform) who will blast him when he doesnt do well. Dont make Pujara a Duminy or a North (both of whom played similar knocks at the start of their careers). Please.

  • Rohit-Gore on October 13, 2010, 15:14 GMT

    A serious serious dilemma for the selectors. One thing that seperates him from others - ability to handle, and even score off, the short ball. Again, and I know we will trumpet the cliche, he needs to prove himself on bouncier and seaming pitches. Maybe the BCCI, with all its might, should be able to organize a round the year engagement for the 'A' teams. Folks like Pujara, Sharma, Vijay should be slugging it out against the tier 2 Australian and South African teams. Thoughout the year. A parallel series of 'tests', if you will. Perhaps, and now I am officially into the land of hyperbole, but BCCI should ask the SA board to have a prallel series for the upcoming Indian tour itself. If they can transfer the entire IPL overnight to SA, surely they can do this. It will at least take care of the 'seaming and bouncier' pitches cliche.

  • Ankeetsinha on October 13, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    Brilliant stuff.. it just shows that hard work and self belief pays.. I have been following this boy on the domestic circuit and it was heartbreaking to see him not selected for the Indian team. Well played boy.. u will do well :)