India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 2nd day

Pujara's happy vibes

It took Cheteshwar Pujara a lot of hard work to earn a second chance at Test cricket after injury but he is now grasping that opportunity with both hands

Sidharth Monga

November 16, 2012

Comments: 81 | Text size: A | A

Wagon wheel of Cheteshwar Pujara's double hundred, India v England, 1st Test, Ahmedabad, 2nd day, November 16, 2012
The wagon wheel of Cheteshwar Pujara's innings shows that he did not have a weak scoring area © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Players/Officials: Cheteshwar Pujara
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
Teams: England | India

It's a season of comparisons after the slots vacated by Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. With Cheteshwar Pujara batting at No. 3, similarities are being looked for between him and Dravid. This is not to endorse any of that - he is yet to prove himself outside the subcontinent - but one look at Pujara's celebrations, and you know Laxman is the man he is more like. He has that calm on his face, that satisfaction, that look of a man who is between a hearty meal and an afternoon nap on a sunny winter Sunday. Like Laxman, when he reaches a milestone, it seems all is well with the world.

All this shouldn't need mentioning, but of late celebrations by Indian players make you wonder if they are actually making a living doing something that is supposed to bring them joy. All the other youngsters nowadays take a catch and throw the ball down in disgust. They take a wicket and are in the face of the batsman. They score a hundred and swear. You forget it's some sport you are watching.

The typical young Indian cricketer is perennially angry at something or the other. It just feels at times that he is fighting an unjust world that is wronging him. Media, fans, commentators, they are all their enemies. You can understand the pressure they play under, the scrutiny, and also perhaps the limited opportunities they get, but Pujara has not had it easy either.

Pujara scored tonnes of runs in domestic cricket but initially that brought him more ridicule than recognition. He comes from a region where runs are automatically devalued. Even Ravindra Jadeja has scored a triple-century in Saurashtra, and another on a similar track in Gujarat. It is a perception hard to shrug off. Primarily because of his Rajkot origin, Pujara saw other young batsmen - arguably less deserving - get chances and endorsements ahead of him.

When Pujara's chance finally did arrive, he scored a sparkling half-century when promoted to turn a tricky chase into a cakewalk. Now that he had begun to reveal the quality behind the Rajkot runs, another setback awaited. During an IPL game, at the same venue that he made his debut, Bangalore, Pujara dived on one of the worst outfields in India and was out of commission with a knee injury.

Two knee operations later, Pujara found himself right at the back of the queue. This was also a period when his father went through a heart ailment. His mother had died when he was young, and now this religious family of two had only each other to lean on.

To come back from all that, Pujara went to the West Indies with the A team, and on tough pitches he scored Laxman-like runs when all others failed. If any other youngster had gone through all this, he would have reacted differently to how Pujara did after reaching his second century in three Tests on return, and also his first Test double.

And Pujara is only improving as a batsman with every Test. As Ravi Shastri observed, Pujara is perhaps the only young batsman in India who can attack spinners without going in the air. Throughout his effort in Ahmedabad, one that has all but batted England out of the Test, Pujara disheartened the bowlers. After an early chance that lobbed James Anderson at mid-on, he took no risk. Nor did he look anxious to reach a landmark or to prove a point.

Quietly and unobtrusively, he kept the good balls out and cashed in on the loose ones. Batting is simple, isn't it? Most impressive was his quick judgement of length against the best bowler on show, Graeme Swann, who had earlier outwitted a good player of spin, Gautam Gambhir, by bowling full with a flat trajectory. Gambhir kept going back as soon as he saw the ball wasn't tossed up, but kept discovering they were a bit too full to be playing off the back foot.

Pujara even outscored Virender Sehwag in a partnership of 90 without playing a shot in anger. He even had words of advice for Sachin Tendulkar when the latter just walked in. He also had the fitness to keep going on and on. Of the 16 first-class centuries he has scored, nine have crossed 150 to go with one 148 not out. It becomes even better in recent times: eight of his last 10 hundreds have been 150-plus.

He had to do a fair share of running too: only 41% of his runs came in boundaries. He wasn't flustered when R Ashwin inverted the laws of calling when running between the wickets. Most importantly, though, when he ran his 100th and 200th runs, he made sure he won't be embarrassed years later when he is watching the tapes with his grandchildren.

This is not to put down somebody like Virat Kohli, who is more expressive in his celebrations. It's their method, it's how they have played their cricket. Some players even find that that bit of needle and anger brings out their best. It's just that among an increasing crowd of players who sometimes make you doubt if they are enjoying their game as much as they should, it's good to see a non-angry young man.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (November 17, 2012, 8:39 GMT)

Makes you wonder...what other treasures lie in the hinterland of Indian domestic cricket? Only today read an article of the "Nearly-there men in Indian cricket" and felt that what would have Amol Muzumdar, A W Zaidi done if they had reached. Can BCCI make a rule that the top 2 scorers and top 2 wicket takers in Ranji get to travel with the Indian team by default? Amol Muzumdar mentioned how he didnt get to even get into Challenger teams??? Felt very sad at reading of such a loss of talent!!!

Posted by the_blue_android on (November 17, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

@martyfartyu - Do you even watch cricket? England just lost a home series to SA. When did India lose a test series at home without winning a single game? England lost to Pak away. Only claim to fame is the Ashes which will soon be lost come 2013. England is a not just a team on the wane, but a train wreck on fire my friend. Oh btw, for someone who is a grammar police, your comment has loads of grammatical errors.

Posted by   on (November 17, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

if only the elephant vacate the place, becuse it canot be booted out. many others r willing to prove their credentials(rahanas,tiwaris,rohiths,pandeys etc)

Posted by martyfartyu on (November 17, 2012, 3:59 GMT)

I am sorry, whilst I think that there was an error in not picking a second spinner, all this trash about England not being a good team any more is simply that, trash.

India have only lost 49 tests at home out of 232 matches, that is the same lose at home ratio as England. All these people arguing that England need to adapt need to understand that home advantage for the subcontinent teams is a significant factor.

Why didn't India scored big runs in England with their 'stellar' bnatting line up on their last tour? That's because home advantage suited our bowlers, much as the slow turning pitches suit the Indians here.

As for England being on the wane, can't see it myself. Yes, we have no express paced bowlers, but apart from Dale Steyn I can't see any fast bowler getting anything out of this pitch.

As for the article itself, not well written, poor use of English and too quick to jump on the bandwagon!

Posted by   on (November 17, 2012, 2:34 GMT)

Pujara - always looked set for the no:3 position. Very happy to see him succeed. Am certain he will do well overseas too. Will be good to see if he curbs his hook shots overseas which is one area which leads to his downfall. I hope the selectors give Badri a chance when sachin hangs his boots sometime next year. Even at 32, he is very fit and can play no: 4 or 5 very effectively for say 40 odd tests. He will succeed if he is given a run... Much more than Raina or Rohit Sharma ever will. Both of them are ideal for T20 and for one dayers. Rahane and Tiwary deserve their breaks too atleast regularly in one day and when one of the top 6 is injured...in tests... Rahane would ease into the openers slot. Mandeep Singh and Unmukt Chand should get their chances in one day and T20 too....That will set the base for 10-12 terrific batsmen to succeed across all formats....We do have the nucleus to do well overseas....it is key breaks are given early....

Posted by spinkingKK on (November 17, 2012, 2:05 GMT)

Dravid stayed on the team far too long. When Pujara was promoted at number3 in that match against Australia in a run chase, that should have been Dravid's last match. Then, we could have had a good Number3, with experience in all the conditions, by now. Ganguly was also a culprit for staying on too long. Yuvraj definitely could have made that slot for himself a long time ago. Tendulkar was ok to cotinue on, because he was performing. But, now, he is staying on too long. He should have retired after the Australian tour. Laxman is the only guy who didn't stay any more than he had to. There was no need to drop Laxman before the Australian tour. So, he timed his retirement right. Maybe only because he was the only one who could become a scapegoat of selectors frequently and he understood it.

Posted by spinkingKK on (November 17, 2012, 1:59 GMT)

Why should someone be embarassed infront of their grand children for showing emotions on the field? I just don't get it. Sports involveds a lot of emotions. It is the expressions of that emotions that brings the competitive edge in many people, as the writer himself pointed out. So, there is nothing wrong in showing the emotions and it is also good for the crowd. The grand children will only appreciate it when they see it so many years after.

Posted by luck1 on (November 17, 2012, 1:47 GMT)

Dear Sidharth, You have always written intelligently. But, here, wanting to look different you have brought a 'VVS' simile, which is quite painfully silly. the silken touch of VVS is definitely not there. For that matter, the panache of Dravid with his favourite shots is also not there. But, Pujara is more like Dravid in his tenacity and patience in buliding a big score.Once he gets his credentials established outside Indian shores he is there for many many long years.and, coming into #3 slot the Dravid simile is the more suitable. Also, let us recognise that even though no person is irreplaceab there could be no another Kapil, Sachin, Dravid or VVS. Similarly, there could be no another Pujara. Best Wishes to him!

Posted by yorkshirematt on (November 17, 2012, 0:29 GMT)

May i congratulate Pujara on his innings, and also for having the best name in world cricket. Who wouldn't want to be called Cheteshwar?

Posted by Naresh28 on (November 16, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

PUJARA IS THE LINK BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW. SO FAR KOHLI AND HIM HAVE CEMENTED THEIR PLACES. RAHANE AND TIWARI SHOULD NOW BE INDUCTED. THE BATTING DOES LOOK IN SECURE HANDS. MANY DERIDED INDIA COULD NOT REPLACE THE FAB4. THERE ARE OTHERS WAITING IN THE WINGS.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 21:33 GMT)

I thought he has a touch of Laxman. Great to see his temperament. If he and Kholi can cement their positions India's batting will be quite solid for many years.

But the acid test will be when India tour overseas.

As for Tendulkar he is still good and should be given space to decide his own fate. I have not seen any other youngster knocking on the doors. I was not very impressed by Rohit Sharma.

Posted by sadha1972 on (November 16, 2012, 20:41 GMT)

lovely article .kohli is a spoilt brat who could learn some humility and class from pujara

Posted by vinaykmr on (November 16, 2012, 20:31 GMT)

good judgment in the article. pujara showing his worth n potential at the highest level. pujara has been performing n scoring big runs for long innings. he has scored 3 triple centuries on the trot within 21 days. he was player of the tourney in junior world cup. even in the age of ipl, he has focussed his sight on tests to toil hard for 8-10 hours on the field, is also appreciable. well done pujara n keep it up.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

I don't know why everyone compares Pujara with Dravid. He's young, composed and talented cricketer and he should be taken care of very well, should be supported and let him play without any pressure. And we should hope for the best!

Posted by Nampally on (November 16, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

@Chris_P: You are right. Placing Pujara in Dravid's category is totally wrong. Pujara is himself & there is no need to compare him to anyone- Dravid or Laxman. Pujara has excellent record in U-19 as a prolific scorer. His patience & defence are his major attributes + he can play all strokes with equal ease. Yes he does have some ON side inclination regarding his wristy shots but he is equally good on the OFF side. Out of his 16 first class centuries, he has supassed 150 no fewer than 8 times.This shows he is a guy who goes for big scores, as he did in this test match. He played well overseas too, in Australia & WI for India A. An excellent #3 for India who, along with Kohli, will hopefully form the Indian batting backbone for years to come.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 18:10 GMT)

First class cricket .. produces first class cricketers. Simple as it is. He is far from a finished product. But he definitely has shown willingness to work hard. And fitness? He ran three 3's and and a double while going from 180 to 200 - not trying to hog strike, not trying to fashion the glory shot, but not missing out on scoring opportunities. Tougher tests await, but this is a promising start. And you're right. He's happiness is the clincher!

Posted by grizzle on (November 16, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

G.Sri: Spot on. I don't think it makes one whit of a difference what Kohli or Pujara have to say after they reach triple figures, as long as they do!

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas_Atheist on (November 16, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

Wonderful display of classic batsmanship by Pujara against the world-class classic off-spin of Swann. What a combination! Treat to watch them fight it out. Can't ask for more. The first test belongs to these two players as far as I'm concerned. Pujara filled the void that I've been feeling ever since The Wall retired. Pujara must have made his idol proud with the way he was unprepared to gift his wicket. You can't help but give it to Swann for his big heart for bowling 51 overs and his variations are just unreal. What a performance by Swann. This makes Pujara's innings even more special. So, I think this battle is won by Pujara - he cut, drove, pulled, flicked and defended Swann much like how Dravid dealt with Swann on our ill-fated last tour to England. Looking forward for more of their battles in the years to come. Take a bow Pujara and Swann!

Posted by Chris_P on (November 16, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

Without seeing any of the match, this graph either shows his wristy play favours the onside or England bowled a lot at his pads. Either way, a good start to his iternational career, but let's see him perform on all surfaces. Not knocking him, but given his home domestic ground is such a road, it is far too earlier to place him in Dravid category, far too early.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 17:29 GMT)

Hi no one suggested that he should me made vice captain for test team & sachin should be dropped replace with NOHIT

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

its great to have a player lke pujara when players r becoming lazy to play tests after adventof ipl riches !! he is the spine of indian test team now along with kohli !! dont deny deserving youngsters like rahane,manoj tiwary,mukund,saha,dhawan and unmukt chand becoz the more they r denied a place in the team their form and confidence of playing for country will diminish !! we dint utilise badrinath when he was in a great form just becoz of big 4 who knows he would hav been more successful if he would have got chance !! there is no need to expect every one to be calm every human is different and we like kohli a lott and his contributions to our team india !!and i enjoy his celebrations more than pujara's !! kohli is the face of youngistan !! he is a perfect role model for any indian youngster!! kohli is an aggressive player like ganguly and gambhir and any budding player can look upto him and what all he has achieved !!pujara,kohli,rahane,ashwin the next big 4!! youngistan rocks :-P

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (November 16, 2012, 17:18 GMT)

Criticizing Kohli for his celebrations is just ridiculous imo. I don't understand why an Indian writer like Siddharth wants a very soft, calm people. We need people like Kohl to put the Aussies and Poms in their place when we tour there. We have seen James Pattinson sledging Smith and Amla. Have we ever seen any Australian writer condemning the behavior of Pattinson. As long as Kohli keeps on scoring runs, he can do whatever he wishes.

Posted by Flash007 on (November 16, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

Good article. Helps to get know Pujara better and admire his qualities. Wish he becomes one of the Indian batting mainstays.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 17:05 GMT)

I think he is more like Dravid than VVS. Well, time will tell more about this young prospective batsmen. All the best for the future Pujara. Watching you bat is like a breath of fresh air.

Posted by xylo on (November 16, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

Not everyone has the maturity of a Pujara or a Dhoni at age 22-24. Just think back to how your behavior was when you were that old. In Kohli's defence, he has been through more pressure situations than Pujara, mostly to do with ODIs/T20s, and given his city upbringing (think Uthappa), he has the language skills and natural aggression to give it back to his opponents.

Posted by SamRoy on (November 16, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

First Tendulkar needs to go (or get dropped) and Rohit Sharma needs to replace him(Rohit has not played a single test match and being the most talented young batsman deserves a chance, ODI failures or IPL success is no way to judge the quality of a player in test cricket). If Yuvraj fails in the long run (I think he will, given his iffy defence) Tiwary should replace him. Had high hopes on Rahane but seeing his failures against West Indies A and in the practice match against England I would want him to play quality bowling more.

Posted by mrmonty on (November 16, 2012, 16:34 GMT)

Kudos to Pujara for grabbing the opportunity to consolidate his place and worth in the fledgling side. But, the author need not have taken digs at Kohli. Different folks have different temperament to face adversity.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Am very impressed by Pujara. He comes from a place which is probably different from the brash neighbourhood of Virat's. Or as some people believe, it is manly to be invective even in celebration!

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

When this kid came in, he was compared to Dravid. A handful of innings later, he is compared to Laxman. A decade later, he will be compared to Sachin :-). 10K+ runs beckon this kid!

Posted by Khali_Singh on (November 16, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

Now this is what happens when you give a deserving person a chance. I mean what has Badrinath done to not have been given a chance. Maybe we would be reading about him in this article. Certain player just looks Test ready like Bradrinath and Pujara its like you know what you would get out of them kind like Mike Hussey.

Posted by Karunk on (November 16, 2012, 16:11 GMT)

Pujara showed excellent footwork against Swan. Have not come across similar use of footwork against spinners for some time. Stepping out these days means lifting the ball over long on/ long off for six and not to smother the spin. He is a different player in his own zone- Let us not compare him with fab 4. He is talented and special. He is confident, calm and matured to play test cricket. Best part is does not show any pranks like other youngsters. This character can be compared with Dravid, Laxman & Sachin. Keep it up... Pujara.

Posted by srisri on (November 16, 2012, 16:04 GMT)

Best Line: "Even Ravindra Jadeja scored a triple century in Saurashtra". LOL. I was wondering, how come? Thanx, this clarifies.

Posted by HITUE on (November 16, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

Well done Pujara ! You played with great confidence . Hope you continue the good work , for the rest of the series. Hopefully , India has found a replacement for Dravid .All the best..

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (November 16, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

Yes, Pujara has the temparament, technique to play long innings in a test match but I will wait to see how he does outside of India before we call him the next Dravid or LAX...SA tour next year will be a true test of his abilities if he can only stay fit.

Posted by Cricket_Fan_And_Analyst on (November 16, 2012, 15:49 GMT)

If find him more like Hashim Alma than any other player. Not the batting style though. His temperament,coolness and character reminds me of Hashim.

Posted by Guruprasad.S on (November 16, 2012, 15:44 GMT)

It was evident even at the beginning of the second paragraph that the writer was hinting at Virat Kohli's rather wild and uncultured celebrations after reaching hundred. To each his own. But Pujara's calm manner will surely serve him better in test cricket.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

What's wrong with England players? Some of the appeals were simply ridiculous. Ball pitch foot outside off and hit the bat and that even outside the off too and Broad goes all nut about it and even questions Umpires for not agreeing with him? They just kept appealing on every little thing.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 15:30 GMT)

Sidharth is right on... to find a normal human being who acts normal and behave like a gentleman and has grace, is a team player and good sportsman was supposed to be how this culture produced men for centuries but in this day and age finding a normal human being especially a young cricketer who is humble like Amla etc. is a rarity so Pujara is a great surprise and no one deserves it more then the life he has had I am sure his mother is watching the fruits of her labor of love from the heavens.I hope other follow his temperament and style then of Virat and Sreesanth school of celebrations.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 15:29 GMT)

Impressive, very impressive. Not only the batting but the demeanor. He was cool like Dravid. He was calm like Laxman. He at least for today is a worthy replacement. I look forward for the years of great batting, without the display of anger and boorishness. Welcome back a more relaxed Yuvraj. Well played. India is in good hands.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (November 16, 2012, 15:28 GMT)

Well done Pujara. He's a keeper, and so is Kohli. Now, can we thank 10dulkar for his services and let him go..........It is embarrassing to watch him bat. Even Ashwin can bat better than 10dulkar.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

Well done Pujara! Gracious .

Posted by intcamd on (November 16, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

I said in some other topic that Kohli was the only player deserving of tier I contract, Pujara for tier II contract, and Ashwin, Yuvraj etc for tier III, and all others including Dhoni, Sehwag, Tendlya etc should PAY the country in order to be playing for the team or carrying drinks. Granted Sehwag scored a rare century, but that does not change it; Pujara himself is very deserving of at least tier II and would have made it to my tier I segment except he has been sidelined due to injuries; but on this evidence, he and Kohli are the best of the team, and Ashwin is pretty decent, but the other 8 are still like chipmunks.

Posted by street_smart on (November 16, 2012, 15:09 GMT)

Just how you celebrate, you have an article... you mean to say Virat Kohli will be embarassed to see the tape with his grand children? Or does the next generation of grand childrens will be timid that they wont appluad a pumped up celebration? Just for the sake of writing something, this article has been written...

Posted by green_jelly on (November 16, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

Pujara has the calm and elegance of Laxman, and the resoluteness of Dravid. If he can maintain consistency, he will be the ideal batsman at No 3 for India.

Posted by sanjaycrickfan on (November 16, 2012, 14:55 GMT)

I dont think the celebration of players need to be scrutinized as long as they perform and do the job for the team. Each one has his own personality and it would be unfair to expect everyone to behave like Dravid or Laxman.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

now.. we need to protect this guy from IPL..

Posted by Indian_Cricket_Fanatic on (November 16, 2012, 14:54 GMT)

I've somewhere began to wonder if the growth of pujara as a good no. 3 prospect has affected virat in any way. As virat was in race for that no. 3 slot with his ODI performances,he would have liked to have a top order slot himself. I wish virat moves up the order at 4 maybe and having sachin at 5. Cause your best and in form batsman play at the top. Currently its virat for India, and he should not be sitting in pavilion so long! besides sachin can feel more settled to enter the crease with india having reached past a good total and can play his natural game then. As far as the matter of choice of celebration is concerned, its upto them ...they can dance or cry after each big milestone be humble headed or let it sink in and then play up....till they are scoring..we're happy!.. Besides having different personalities just enhances the charm of the team. I hope India give ajinkya rahane a chance in place of sachin in the next test...which i know won't happen though!

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 14:47 GMT)

Pujara and Kohli are good finds...let us see how they do overseas...to this I wish they would try Rahane...he is another young talented player

Posted by gshaw on (November 16, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

Very nicely written. kudos to the author. I am fan of Pujara. wish him all the best.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (November 16, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

The first time I watched this guy play (2-3 years back in IPL), I knew this guy is made for Test cricket. Even in a T20 game, where batsmen go berserk, he was hitting the boundaries all along the ground. His inning was brief, but he looked classy and compact. I am really happy that he is doing good. Keep it up, Pujara! I know this is not a Page 2 article, but this was funny: "He wasn't flustered when R Ashwin inverted the laws of calling when running between the wickets". What's with Ashwin and running? :-)

Posted by usernames on (November 16, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

What's with people dissing Kohli's celebrations? Leave the lad alone, please. He's scoring runs like no one else, for goodness' sake. Pujara played really, really well--I hope he takes it on from here, and goes ahead to score a few more in this series. This and the Australia series, if he scores runs, will hold him in good stead, and give him the experience he needs as well. Also, I think there's no need to obsess over--plan, yes, not obsess--SA 2013 yet. Let them win this series, if they can, and the next one against Australia. Let's see where we are, and plan it on from there.

Posted by chaibhat on (November 16, 2012, 14:06 GMT)

Awesome Article...Just loved it...!!!!!:)

Posted by SHKS on (November 16, 2012, 14:05 GMT)

U r absolutely right.He is too cool.Atleast there is no threat that there is no good young test player.Just look at his innings how he builded it how he accelerate it wit lot of pataince .He is almost 8.5 hour in crease.Hats up to Cheteswar.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 14:01 GMT)

well done Pujara boy great to see a man of my age with lot of calmness, poise and all the qualities to be a good human. My prediction is if you are gentle and calm you can achieve lot more than others who are of your age....great to see you in the middle, really loved it......

Posted by Scube on (November 16, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

I kept on commenting during the debacles in Eng & Aus that the one person who could have made a slight difference to our fortunes is lost due to the hopeless IPL! Not that we would have won both the series, but would have definitely fared a lot better! I really hope Pujara is available and in good shape come SA 2013 and not lost again due to IPL 13! BCCI, hope you aren't plotting for 3-0 in SA!

Posted by jango_moh on (November 16, 2012, 13:59 GMT)

it doesnt really matter how you celebrate, what matters is scoring runs, i personally dont care if pujara dances like sreesanth as long as he scores his runs, lol....

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 13:55 GMT)

Why are you guys even trying to compare Pujara to say VVS or Dravid. ???? It baffles me that if he is out of form you'r going to start saying for the India selection team to look for a replacement.!

Give him some time before you start comparing him

Posted by 596kunal on (November 16, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

hmm...looks like you have taken Kohli on sword. But, on one way it is good for India on having players with contrasting nature, mindset and approach. Having an aggressive and "best pals" on the TOP, then a calm and Cool customer at 3, most worshiped and complete batsman at 4 and then 3-Men with Flamboyant, Aggressive and dynamite hitters at 5,6 and 7. Perhaps only the finishing touches are required now by bringing the self-confidence in them.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (November 16, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

well done Pujara. Hope you will take that slot permanent with some decent performances. All the best.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

Nice man, elegant and graceful

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

In terms of calmness, celebrations, etc, he might be more like Laxman, but overall, in terms of technique, class, shot selection and grit he is more like Dravid. And Dravid too was quite calm and composed at most times. Obviously, we need to wait till he scores some runs outside the sub continent to pass any judgement and make any comparisons.

Posted by Anuroop_nair on (November 16, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

Well the fact is england bowled very poorly.No heart shown by the medium pacers whatsoever!Right from the day one!They erred in length constantly,instead of putting on pressure from one end,they ended up giving away easy boundaries on the last bowl of the over.Easy pickings for indian batsmen(not taking anything from pujara yuvi or sehwag).And the english batsmen looked a lot tentative as well.I hope pieterson n cook put up a fight 2moro.Else it will be all over in a day and a half i guess.The body language of english players was so shabby.Its like they have already given up!

Posted by Scube on (November 16, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

Thanks Sidharth for the wonderful article as usual! Two statements stood out for me. "now this religious family of two had only each other to lean on" brought tears and "He wasn't flustered when R Ashwin inverted the laws of calling when running between the wickets" exactly resonated my thoughts about Ashwin's hopelessness in the field and between the wickets! I really really hope that he works on these two areas sooner than later to make him a more wholesome player to the team than living with the attitude that it's part of my package, take it or leave it!

Posted by Indian_Cricket_Fanatic on (November 16, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

Rightly So! I wish pujara all the best with his life and game. Hope he continues to bring good to Indian Criicket....

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 13:14 GMT)

Great Performance by Pujara. Keep it up, Young Man. Now, we need to see how he performs in tough conditions such as SA, Eng and Aus. Seems to have a good technique. Hope he becomes a permanent no. 3 of us. Good Luck to you.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

India have rebuilt remarkably quickly & effectively following that infamous double debacle in England & Australia. Chet Pujara's innings at Ahmedabad oozed elegance & class as well as being a model in sustained concentration. With him & Kohli as their middle-order bulwark for years to come, all that remains of the batting jigsaw is to replace the rapidly declining Tendulkar with either Rahane or Rohit Sharma. They also have the most incisive spin duo in world cricket in Ojha & Ashwin (who has the ability to develop into a Shastri-type batsman as well, capable of being slotted in anywhere in the order from One to Seven), while Yadav has the pace to trouble even the finest batsmen on seaming pitches. Once India accept that, as with Tendulkar, Zaheer's race is now run, & either give Irfan Pathan a richly-deserved second chance as a like-for-like replacement who can also contribute handy runs - or go for all-out pace with Ishant or Aaron - they'll be challenging for that No. 1 spot again.

Posted by 777aditya on (November 16, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

Pujara is just beginning his career - no doubt about this player's class who has scored 4 triple centuries in domestic cricket - but any comparisons with Dravid and/or Laxman are just too early. Even the comparison with Kohli with their celebrations is out of context. Kohli has already established himself and is captain material. One cannot say the same about Pujara, just as yet. Anyways, well played Pujara! but I like Kohli and his celebrations better!

Posted by 100_rabh on (November 16, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

very rightly said Sid. Pujara could go on to score 8,000 test runs at least and too early to give that tag but could be a future test captain as well. Ahead of Kohli in my queue. Shame that players like Raina got so many chances ahead of him in test matche aboard. Cant wait to watch him in SA against Steyn and company

Posted by CrissCross786 on (November 16, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

He's not yet to bat out of subcontinent, If you remember he did play in the SA series but failed to make a mark, not that he was bad but was unlucky imo.Then the injury came and the inevitable long time off.Looks way better than Kohli to me as a Test batsmen, immediately became his fan at his debut of 72 against Australia.

Posted by thegoodgame on (November 16, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

Happy that India have found another gentleman batsmen - along the lines of Tendulkar, Laxman and Dravid. Ajinkya Rahane is another one with loads of talent and a mature head on his young shoulders. Winning is good, but grace on the field is even better!

Posted by ArjunVS on (November 16, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

There is a lot to like about Pujara, the least of which is that my kids tease me that he looks as I did as a youngster - not ! But on a serious note, he made tons of runs and patiently waited his turn. he made good his debu and subsequent matches and was again patient in his return from injury. But what is a real treat is firstly the cricket and the second as you have described is the quiet dignity.

And finally, someone with enough stand-up to write about those "angry" young men and we shall not name and shame, are referred to as "Potty Mouth" in our family. I am surprised their parents have not put them across their knees and given them a right round hiding for their disgraceful behaviour.

Posted by maddy20 on (November 16, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

It seems like all of England would be lucky to get past Pujara's score on a "flat wicket" as many put it yesterday. Just because the likes of Sehwag and Pujara batted with ease does not necessarily mean its a flat wicket and spinners dont need bounce as long as they can hit the right spots and get the ball to turn. I remember Ponting setting defensive fields to Sehwag when he toured India- His theory was that Sehwag's attacking instincts would be his undoing. Needless to say, the plan failed more often than not with disastrous consequences, the Sehwag-Gambhir duo scoring at over 5 an over and put the Aussies on the backfoot from ball 1. Back to the current game, if we can get rid of Cook or KP early tomorrow, then this match will be over by lunch(or at the most tea) on day 4. Innings defeat no.1 in first test, coming right up. Can't wait to hear the whinging from English fans who must have found today's play exciting, after India hammering English bowlers made you doze off yesterday!

Posted by CricketMaan on (November 16, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

Pujara will once again be tested by Steyn and co when he goes there are as an established player in the XI. That will be the transformation from boy to man, if he succeeds then we should start celebrating him, but until then just hold on to your praise. Stand and appluad but leave it there and wait for him to come out in flying colors after those 3 tormenting tours start Dec 2013.

Posted by KingKongIn on (November 16, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

Well Played Pujara...but real test is still on ...he needs to be successfull on alien condition !!

Posted by Ravishankar_Iyer on (November 16, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

Beautifully written... Sidharth is as talented with the pen as his subject is with the bat...

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (November 16, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

Pujara is a worthy replacement for Dravid, Kohli is a worthy replacement for 10dulkar, and Yuvraj is a worthy replacement for Ganguly or Laxman. Now our selectors can relax and let 10dulkar go. I have been saying this for a long time - even our tailenders like Ashwin and Pathan can bat better then 10dulkar. A home series is the best time to drop 10dulkar, and find a stand-in for Gambhir. Shikhar Dhawan has been in the form of his life - he deserves a shot at Gambhir's spot. Vijay had his chances - I don't think he is cut out for top level cricket.

Posted by pr3m on (November 16, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

I'm sorry, and I generally don't do this, but did you really have to opine on others' celebration to lift Pujara's? Couldn't a description of his alone suffice this? And yes, this is my fanboy-dom of Kohli speaking. I respect Pujara and his talents a lot, and I welcome him in the Indian team with open arms, but the truth is that we do need a Kohli so we're not stepped on (or at least feel like we're being) whenever we go Down Under or to the poms.

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

"He comes from a region where runs are automatically devalued. Even Ravindra Jadeja has scored a triple-century in Saurashtra, and another on a similar track in Gujarat."....Hilarious !!

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (November 16, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

THOUGH I M NOT CRITISIZING DHONI BUT UMESH ALSO NEED TO BE GIVEN A FEW OVERS WITH NEW BALL . IF YOU WILL NOT GIVE HIM NEW BALL HOW CAN YOU EXPECT WKTS WITH HIM BY OLD BALL ? HE IS NOT A MASTER OF REVERSE SWING . IT WILL ONLY GIVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON UMESH YADAV . WELL PLAYED , PUJARA .

Posted by atuljain1969 on (November 16, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

At the start I thought that Indian batsmen would fail though not necasarily against only English Bowlers, but in this Test they have proved me wrong.

It is extremely difficult for England now to win the series knowing the fact that Finn too is not fit.

If India wins the series, it will be a great achievement as they were humiliated last year in England, even though early in the series they showed lots of promise. However regular injuries to key players took the steam out of Indian camp.

Pujara looks good as long prospect and every praise is small,considering big names again fail to deliver except for Sehwag

Posted by   on (November 16, 2012, 12:25 GMT)

Still I see its a draw match, India don't have enough bowling attack to all out England twice. Aswin is just a kind of bowler who only can bowl no balls when it matters & never read the batsman's weakness, :) and ojha is just traditional but nothing with out of box. Hopefully KP & Cook will keep them in bay tomorrow.

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