India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Hyderabad, 1st day August 23, 2012

The delight of keeping it pure and simple

The uniqueness of Cheteshwar Pujara's century lay in its understated approach
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We have read numerous adjectives over the years describing the various batsmen who made up India's great Test line-up of recent vintage. Over time, with almost every adjective, you could tell the batsmen it was being used for. Think marauder, perfectionist, immaculate, stylist: think Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman. In the coming years, if Cheteshwar Pujara keeps doing what he did today - and he probably will - we'll read one more: batsman. Nothing more, just batsman. Because Pujara just bats, no frills attached, the way a woodcutter cuts wood, the way a painter paints, the way any worker works.

Not for a delivery is he unattractive, but he is not attractive either. Not for a delivery does he seem to be making too much of an effort, but he is not effortless either. Not for a delivery does he seem to be taking too much pressure, but he is not unbothered either. He just does his job like it is to be done.

Like he did today, at No. 3 against New Zealand. He came in when India had got a start, nothing more, with Virender Sehwag slamming fours. As was required at the stage, Pujara let Sehwag do his thing while he lasted. When Sehwag fell, he took his time to rebuild in a quiet partnership with Tendulkar, but with the latter in defensive mode, Pujara outscored his senior partner.

From 125 for 3, he and Virat Kohli doubled the score, matching each other stroke for stroke and giving the Hyderabad crowd more than a glimpse into India's Test batting future. And yes, Pujara comfortably outscored Kohli in the partnership, in terms of runs and strike-rate. As he said later, it is just his image that he is defensive.

When Kohli and Suresh Raina fell in quick succession, Pujara had more rebuilding to do, along with MS Dhoni, with the second new ball not far away. Now Dhoni is one of the last batsmen who will be outscored in partnerships; Pujara let his captain dominate their stand. In other words, to sum up his entire innings in one line, Pujara did just what was required throughout the day.

He was playing his first Test in over a year-and-a-half, injury and recovery having eaten up much of his time. He was up initially against New Zealand's best bowler of the day, Trent Boult. There was a short leg, short midwicket, shortish backward square leg, and fine leg. New Zealand were clear where they were going to target the young batsman. Pujara knew as well. Right back he went, and defended the short deliveries. He didn't flinch, he didn't back away, he didn't hop around, he didn't look to swing his way out of pressure. He just defended calmly and firmly.

Off his 46th delivery, he decided enough was enough, and clubbed a short Chris Martin delivery to deep square leg for four. It was not a pull, it was not a hook, it was somewhere in between. But it was whole-hearted. As were all his strokes. Again, unlike the image he has.

His cuts and punches stood out. Again, they were whole-hearted. Pujara was in the air at times as he ended these shots. New Zealand kept giving him width, and he kept thumping them. Of course, there were orthodox cover drives and steers, but those we have been told to expect from Pujara.

He showed awareness in targeting the part-time offspinner Kane Williamson for three boundaries to race to 95. For two deliveries against James Franklin, only two, he revealed to the world that he was nervous about being in the 90s for the first time in international cricket. He mishit a forcing push to Franklin off one that stayed low, and extravagantly flicked the next one to midwicket.

Forcing. Extravagant. Both frills. The pure batsman re-emerged immediately. Two of the remaining four balls in the over were left alone, two were defended. As they needed to be. Pujara said later he was mentally strong enough to handle those moments.

The hundred was brought up in due course, the celebration had some emotion, but what is noteworthy is that after reaching the landmark, Pujara faced 57 more deliveries till stumps, which included a let-off by the umpire when he was on 117.

He said he had wanted to make a debut Test hundred, had missed out [he made 72] and was satisfied to get his maiden century, which he dedicated to his father. "He has been working really hard on me ever since my childhood. He went through some tough time in his life - he had a bypass surgery - and he's still coaching me. I'm very thankful to him and would like to dedicate this to both my parents.

"The first target [tomorrow] is to put up 400 on the board and then individually, if I can score a double-hundred, it will be great," Pujara said. He is on 119, and already thinking about getting a double. Somehow, when he said it, it didn't sound like a boast. It didn't sound fake as well.

Have India found their new No. 3 in place of the colossus who played 164 Tests? They could have. But for the moment, India have a young batsman who bats, pure and simple. Savour him, for he is a rarity.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • venbas on August 24, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    @jezzastyles - Yes, That is what I wanted to highlight. NZ are never push overs and their sum total of team contributions is always larger than any individual flashes of brilliance in the opposition ranks. Just because Pujara got a century against NZ, some people were trying to run down the performance as bluff that should be exposed by Australia/England. My point is more than the century result, it was the technique and temperament that stood out for Pujara. In this test he has made the lions share of the total and had almost carried his bat. But for him, India might have been bowled out inside 200 and possibly lost the 'home' test in their own backyard. Hope he carries on in the same form and we get 2-3 more players like him for Test Cricket. India and Test cricket needs players like Pujara to shore up the exits of the greats.

  • praveen4honestremark on August 24, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    It's wrong place to put views, but had to put...Dhoni's decision to play 4 bowlers in a test match is RIDICULOUS.I just noticed it and it was MINDLESS DECISION by Dhoni to say the least.

  • ste13 on August 24, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    There is then nothing wrong with Indian batting. Pujara, Kohli have already proven their international class. However, I think Tendulkar should follow his younger colleagues and declare his time on test cricket. This will only do goods for younger players who can only progress. Bowling is another story - we shall see, but even NZ will be a test.

  • Muhtasim13 on August 24, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    I'm not a fan of India, but I'll have to admit that Pujara has got really strong nerves.

  • srikanths on August 24, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    To the topic under discussion, Pujara, he did appear quite unhurried and calm, a look of quiet efficiency about him

    The 72 he scored against Australia in 2010 was very attractive, attacking and bold, especially after he had got out for 4 in the first innings

    He is one, who does appear to have the talent and temperament

    It is quite possible that in the long run, he would come out better than a Kohli

    Just hope Raina and Rohit Sharma improve and get in to the team.

    Rain's one big weakness , the shortball, not insurmountable as someone pointed out taking Bairstow as a case in point

    Rohit Sharma needed a kick in the back but now seems to be very low on cofidence. Needs a good big knock at International level

  • mikriket on August 24, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Just as excepted--India 400-450 and then NZ compiling about the same but requiring two innings to do so, with McCullen, Flynn and Franklan not making any decent score and Taylor making oerhaps one decent score

  • srikanths on August 24, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    Was planning to see part of Bangalore test. Not so sure now. It was quite painful to see Tendulkar scratch around for a laboured 19.

    Last time , had gone to see Ind Vs Australia . Saw him score 44 no , overnight and the next day, I gave the match a skip and our man scored a double ton. Atleast got to see him bat a bit .

    Such a great player. Pained to see anything less than dominating and silken touch from him.Not the right attitude on the part of fans but that is how one viewed things when it came to Tendulkar.

    As Boycott says ,batting is a game of being in exact position, a fraction here or there out of place, you are gone.Age is showing and playing up now

    I just hope it is not a repeat of Dravid In Australia, getting bowled, being slightly slow to react.

    So nice to cling on to the idea of Tendulkar of old,clinical sometimes, attacking other times.

  • vaidyar on August 24, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    Exactly what I noticed too. There are no frills. He isn't a Graeme Smith on one end, he isn't a Laxman either or a Dravid with a flourishing follow-through either. He plays like Kallis - efficient, not ugly, not beautiful either. If he does well, he will end up being described like Kallis - nothing to describe. Notice that most sport-writers can't think of anything to write about Kallis barring the amount of runs scored. Will do for Indian cricket.

  • on August 24, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    On the evidence of this innings (as I write, he's just been dismissed for 159), Pujara has a rock-solid technique, an unflappable temperament, near-impeccable timing & as wide an array of strokes as he's ever going to need on Indian pitches. A work in progress, certainly, but, given time, he looks like a fitting replacement for the lordly Dravid. For me, the most fascinating sub-plot of the forthcoming India/England series lies in the battle of the tyros: Kohli, Pujara, Rahane, Ashwin & Yadav versus Bairstow, Taylor, Finn, Woakes & Root (assuming the latter two are selected). It's a mouth-watering prospect.

  • jezzastyles on August 24, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    @venbas: AUS have learnt the hard way to never underestimate the Kiwi's, they're fighters one & all. Hope you give a good accounting of yourselves. Best of luck to both teams.

  • venbas on August 24, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    @jezzastyles - Yes, That is what I wanted to highlight. NZ are never push overs and their sum total of team contributions is always larger than any individual flashes of brilliance in the opposition ranks. Just because Pujara got a century against NZ, some people were trying to run down the performance as bluff that should be exposed by Australia/England. My point is more than the century result, it was the technique and temperament that stood out for Pujara. In this test he has made the lions share of the total and had almost carried his bat. But for him, India might have been bowled out inside 200 and possibly lost the 'home' test in their own backyard. Hope he carries on in the same form and we get 2-3 more players like him for Test Cricket. India and Test cricket needs players like Pujara to shore up the exits of the greats.

  • praveen4honestremark on August 24, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    It's wrong place to put views, but had to put...Dhoni's decision to play 4 bowlers in a test match is RIDICULOUS.I just noticed it and it was MINDLESS DECISION by Dhoni to say the least.

  • ste13 on August 24, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    There is then nothing wrong with Indian batting. Pujara, Kohli have already proven their international class. However, I think Tendulkar should follow his younger colleagues and declare his time on test cricket. This will only do goods for younger players who can only progress. Bowling is another story - we shall see, but even NZ will be a test.

  • Muhtasim13 on August 24, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    I'm not a fan of India, but I'll have to admit that Pujara has got really strong nerves.

  • srikanths on August 24, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    To the topic under discussion, Pujara, he did appear quite unhurried and calm, a look of quiet efficiency about him

    The 72 he scored against Australia in 2010 was very attractive, attacking and bold, especially after he had got out for 4 in the first innings

    He is one, who does appear to have the talent and temperament

    It is quite possible that in the long run, he would come out better than a Kohli

    Just hope Raina and Rohit Sharma improve and get in to the team.

    Rain's one big weakness , the shortball, not insurmountable as someone pointed out taking Bairstow as a case in point

    Rohit Sharma needed a kick in the back but now seems to be very low on cofidence. Needs a good big knock at International level

  • mikriket on August 24, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Just as excepted--India 400-450 and then NZ compiling about the same but requiring two innings to do so, with McCullen, Flynn and Franklan not making any decent score and Taylor making oerhaps one decent score

  • srikanths on August 24, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    Was planning to see part of Bangalore test. Not so sure now. It was quite painful to see Tendulkar scratch around for a laboured 19.

    Last time , had gone to see Ind Vs Australia . Saw him score 44 no , overnight and the next day, I gave the match a skip and our man scored a double ton. Atleast got to see him bat a bit .

    Such a great player. Pained to see anything less than dominating and silken touch from him.Not the right attitude on the part of fans but that is how one viewed things when it came to Tendulkar.

    As Boycott says ,batting is a game of being in exact position, a fraction here or there out of place, you are gone.Age is showing and playing up now

    I just hope it is not a repeat of Dravid In Australia, getting bowled, being slightly slow to react.

    So nice to cling on to the idea of Tendulkar of old,clinical sometimes, attacking other times.

  • vaidyar on August 24, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    Exactly what I noticed too. There are no frills. He isn't a Graeme Smith on one end, he isn't a Laxman either or a Dravid with a flourishing follow-through either. He plays like Kallis - efficient, not ugly, not beautiful either. If he does well, he will end up being described like Kallis - nothing to describe. Notice that most sport-writers can't think of anything to write about Kallis barring the amount of runs scored. Will do for Indian cricket.

  • on August 24, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    On the evidence of this innings (as I write, he's just been dismissed for 159), Pujara has a rock-solid technique, an unflappable temperament, near-impeccable timing & as wide an array of strokes as he's ever going to need on Indian pitches. A work in progress, certainly, but, given time, he looks like a fitting replacement for the lordly Dravid. For me, the most fascinating sub-plot of the forthcoming India/England series lies in the battle of the tyros: Kohli, Pujara, Rahane, Ashwin & Yadav versus Bairstow, Taylor, Finn, Woakes & Root (assuming the latter two are selected). It's a mouth-watering prospect.

  • jezzastyles on August 24, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    @venbas: AUS have learnt the hard way to never underestimate the Kiwi's, they're fighters one & all. Hope you give a good accounting of yourselves. Best of luck to both teams.

  • abdulahadjawaid on August 24, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    I am unable to watch the cricket in India (no StarCricet/NEO in Pakistan) so I thought that he's just another IPL guy but I am amazed with his performance. I'd be happy if he scores 200. All the best for future Pujara!

  • jezzastyles on August 24, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    @CarDroid: Spot-on with this comment; "we" cricket followers used to enjoy and acknowledge skillful cricketers, even if they were from a team that was giving your side a pasting (like the mighty WI in their heyday). But now it seems a lot of the comments are biased and contain the inevitable "cheap shot" against the opposition. It's all well & good to criticise - but it might help if you make a few positive recommendations as well - constructive criticism is best. Enough of the "my team is so much better than yours" mentality. Just enjoy the game.

  • jezzastyles on August 24, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Congratulations to Pujara on his maiden test century, a fine knock indeed. It would be good to see him make it a double! It was a pity Kohli failed to go on with it, but it looks as if Dhoni might get a hundred as well. Well done to IND, but NZ will always fight to the very end, so don't get complacent.

  • Riderstorm on August 24, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    Enough with the disdain over the runs scored in the subcontinent. Pujara is not being hailed as the greatest or anything. But, looked into as a good prospect. Leave it at that. Anyways, if its so easy to score runs in the subcontient against spinners why is that england and SA find it so difficult to register consistent victories as they do in SA,Aus or england.

  • sarathysps on August 24, 2012, 5:55 GMT

    it is not important to compare the legends with the youngsters every one has their style of batting. what is really important is if they{youngsters} can fill the legends shoes with their batting?

  • Fast_Track_Bully on August 24, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    He is good. I like his defensing style and ability. That is rare for new generation crickets who is more influenced with T20. But it is just his beginning, he have to travel a lot to be fit at Dravid's shoes. All the best!

  • on August 24, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    Pujara can this is a net-practice ...for bigger things that might be in his plate in comming years... like playing in Australian-England-South African fast , bouncy and swing-laden tracks ...until he excels there...he is just another Indian batsmen in the ranks..

  • satish619chandar on August 24, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    Let us keep it simple. Pujara is the BEST long version player in the nation now. Why play him unnecessarily in IPL or in shorter formats. I guess BCCI need to take a decision on this. Pick pure test players and make them concentrate on that format alone. Don't allow them to change game for the formats. As of now, only Kohl and Gambhiri are multi format players.. Sehwag is getting restless with the new balla nd not as good as he was once.. With Rahane's rise, we can afford to try out Viru in middle order in place of Raina and move in Rahane as opener..

  • CarDroid on August 24, 2012, 2:49 GMT

    More double standards from some folks who are commenting here. Just see the all the articles in the Daily Mail or the Telegraph, praising Bairstow after he made a 95 and a 52, at home, against a superb bowling attack. Nobody said Pujara is great, based on this one score, at home, against an ordinary attack. All that's being said is "here's a good lad, hope he goes on to do well for India" - a sentiment that is shared by England fans about JB and by Australian fans about say, Starc or Pattinson. Give the kids a break guys. After all, we cricket lovers are supposed to be better than unruly soccer fans :)

  • Edassery on August 24, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    It's too early to shower praises on a batsman based on a 100 that came at home pitches where the ball comes nicely at knee height. Let him prove in good wickets and in abroad conditions. Having said, that he definitely looks better composed than Yuvraj Singh or Raina (and not as careless as the shameless Rohit Sharma)

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on August 24, 2012, 2:13 GMT

    Absolutely fantastic piece on Cheteshwar 'Rahul Dravid' Pujara. 'But for the moment, India have a young batsman who bats, pure and simple. Savour him, for he is a rarity'. Absolutely loved that closing note.

  • venbas on August 24, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    @Kaze...Yeah New Zealand is such a bad team that they can only manage to eke out a 1-1 draw against the Aussies in Australia. Its not the score that Pujara has got everyone exited about, its more about the mindset and the approach to Test Cricket that is badly needed in the Indian Team. If you notice the 'flashier' players like Sehwag, Raina and Kohli are already in the pavilion. But for Pujaras steady innings, India might even end up falling turtle in this Test match. Hope he follows up his effort outside the subcontinent also. With his technique and temperament it is not an impossible ask.

  • tntn on August 24, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    One more instance for us to realise that our future lies in the hands of the new generation. Lets find some bowlers too, expose them to tough opponenets and prune them. If we have the conviction to persist with long failures of seniors let us also display some vision in giving the same long rope to younger bowlers and make them winners.

  • NumberXI on August 24, 2012, 1:24 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: well said. One look at Ricky Ponting's career batting record will demonstrate why getting runs in Indian conditions isn't greatly prized. Having said that, Pujara is 5 test innings old and only time will tell how he will cope with various conditions. And for the record, it might just help to see that Pujara showed composure and solidity when facing Steyn and Morkel in South Africa in a Test match which India won and he and Laxman were involved in an important partnership.

  • Melsangy on August 24, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    @BhH1985 You failed measurably to understand the basics of cricket. All teams are good in their home conditions. Playing is ENG, AUS, SA are always challenging for visiting teams and IND is not exception. Same for those teams when they visit subcontinent. So rather than mud sledging just sit back and enjoy the cricket in pure form. Your application of standards do not matter to most of the teams in subcontinent.

  • pr3m on August 24, 2012, 0:41 GMT

    Why do people keep bringing the 20 month interim each time they discuss him? He's 24, not 34. Why is being picked at 22 and being persisted with such an obsession? I'm glad for Badri to have been picked, so what if he's 31, he deserves a shot. And Test cricket isn't a game for the boys, nerves of steel are required to last five days. The Test cap should be respected and only given to players of ability.

    I'm glad he had to wait and push his way through. I'm glad he's in at 24 and not 19. I hope he stays the backbone of the side for the next 10-12 years. Welcome, kid, and enjoy your stay.

  • Emancipator007 on August 24, 2012, 0:03 GMT

    Absolute Test-class player predictably proving himself immediately on return.no surprise at all. Will fight and refine his game to the challenges of SA,OZ, Eng when the opportunities come as the hunger is evident. Folks, meanwhile the murkiness is the waltzing of Raina into the Test team despite being a proven failure. Please lobby to ensure he never plays Tests again. Badri deserves some chances unlike poor Amol Mujumdar who never came close to a single India cap. Or Tiwary and Rahane, who have the game to play in the long format. Raina was hopeless in SA (10 straight failures over 2 tours) and OZ too, yet gets repeated chances.Oh how Sandeep Patil and Badani would have loved so any chances during their careers.Have been saying this on cricinfo forums repeatedly.

  • AvidCricFan on August 23, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    Its a good start for Pujara. He has the temperament like Kohli. Time will tell how good he is. His real test will be overseas tour in England, Aussie and SA. If he can perform there, he can rise to the rank of greats. In 80's, Indian cricket faced same questions when the players like Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Amarnath retired. Then came Azarudin, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid. I am sure there will be few more. The only difference is, players until IPL started, had more incentives to play in English counties. This gave them opportunities to hone skills to play against pace, bounce and swing. Now with IPL that incentive is gone. The quality of batting skills has dropped. It will get increasingly hard to find good quality players in IPL environment with BCCI totally oblivious to address the short comings of Indian cricket.

  • TrueFactors on August 23, 2012, 22:47 GMT

    Numbers proved once again - Raina is one of best 50 overs and T20 player, but please, not for tests. - Pujara and Rahane are best at test level, temperament and technique wise. - RSharma is an over-hyped and incapable in all formats due to his slowness in technique. - Kohli is team's best 50-over player. He is more than capable in T20 and Tests, but not best as of now. - If Pujara will not be tagged as test player only then, with opportunity Pujara will prove himself as more than capable (if not best) batsman in 50-over matches as well. (No T20 please..) **** Hope, we will see this soon in coming years.

  • maddy20 on August 23, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    @ Kaze Yeah like he failed against OZ scoring an attacking 72 on debut? If that is how you describe failing, then hell yeah. I would love to see him fail!

  • on August 23, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    Really, cricinfo has some problems... they assess people with one innings.... pujara have just scored a century before he remove his last protection... they came up with an article that he is the test batting future for india... there is one similar article(http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/498540.html) about yusuf pathan after his edged and hard hitten century against south africa.... now you will have to use google search to find him..... be patient cricinfo... let some body prove themselves then please write about them....

  • tests_the_best on August 23, 2012, 22:02 GMT

    The selectors should make sure to give an extended run to most of the younger batsmen. On the recent tour to aus, each of the top 8 batsmen ( including ashwin) in the ind batting lineup had at least a half-century by the end of the 2nd test except virat kohli and there was some talk of dropping him for rohit sharma or some other. But persisting with kohli resulted in him top-scoring in perth and a century in adelaide. If a batsman is talented, it's only a matter of time before he comes through.

  • tests_the_best on August 23, 2012, 21:49 GMT

    To be honest, if you look at indian cricket over the last 3-4 decades, there have always been good batsmen coming through so batting is not something that ind would really need to worry about. The void left by the big 3 would eventually be filled, although not with the same quality. The real worry for indian cricket in the next 5 years is about having a bowling attack that can take 20 wickets and also a lower order that can bat well, like eng do. If you have a popgun attack that cant take 20 wickets in eng/aus, you can't win matches no matter how good the batting is.

  • sparth on August 23, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    This is his first 100. Why do people think that 1 hundred suddenly means that your a good batsman. He scored this against a weak NZ attack at home. We cant start saying that he is the replacement for Dravid (arguably the best/2nd best to Bradman No.3 in the world) after one decent innings. Wait for another 3 years and then start talking. The legends of indian cricket have all been consistently good.

  • Kaze on August 23, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    Yawn a hundred against NZ at home how original. Bet he fails against England and Australia!

  • moBlue on August 23, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    get rid of raina from the IND test team... and forget rohit sharma exists. drop sehwag down to #6. get rahane to open the inning, and have gambhir compete with mukund for the other opening spot. let us at least get dhoni to do these things so we can have a decent tour of SA in 2013. the last move for this to work and for IND to have a terrific test team in 2013 when we play in SA would be to drop dhoni, of course, before he becomes deadwood and a cheap wicket once more in SA, and get saha or dinesh kartik [who has a ton opening in SA!!!] to keep wickets instead, with kohli as captain, perhaps... but dhoni being dropped from the test team may never happen!

  • Ram.k on August 23, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    Firstly.. Great work Abhishek.. Great way to describe the young man "India have a young batsman who bats, pure and simple".. Lets hope he remains that way.. We have seen some in the past who would fit in this category but faded away for reasons unknown..

    I am in teh USA and was up all night watching the lad bat.. Normally i dont sit through complete matches due to timing issues.. but what i saw yesterday was awesome.. a young man who was to my dismay compared or may I say said to have been a replacement to the most consistent batsman ever produced by cricket.. I was eager to see how he copes with the pressure.. he showed us how he wants to do it.. would be exciting to see how he comes up on foregin soils..

  • on August 23, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    Its only one century. People are talking as if he is the find of the century. The real test of any batsman is when he faces Steyn or Morkell or Gul or Ajmal. Playing Anderson and Broad in England is never easy. Pujara has ways to go. The way the fans are drooling over him, its as if no Indian has ever scored a century. Get on with it. Its a slow, dusty Indian pitch where batting is never a challenge. The Kiwi bowlers that he faced, are still raw and novices. Even the weak WI pumelled them into submission. Pujara needs baptism by fire and that u get on a SA, English or Australian tour. Lets see how he holds up then.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 23, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    @BnH1985Fan: Since when did playing in ENG, AUS, and SA become a YARDSTICK to measure success ??? Sure, they are all important places to play test cricket BUT playing in the sub continent isn't by means inferior. In fact, you ask any player from those nations, he will tell you playing in India is by far the HARDEST challenge for a visiting team. The climate, the pitches, the travelling etc etc. Our cricketers are brought up to embrace these conditions. They are masters of these conditions. How can you even dare to deem that unworthy ? Coming to your point, if you feel playing in ENG, SA and AUS should be a yardstick for India, then the same is applicable to those 3 teams when they tour the sub continent. Failure in the sub continent is not good.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 23, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    @BnH1985Fan: Hmm... thanks for the expert advice. How about you go and tell that to ENG and AUS ?! Cause they both STRUGGLE and FAIL miserably in our conditions. So here is the criteria hot shot - ENG MUST win in sub continent to be even considered a good test team, same goes for AUS who got nailed 2-0 the last time they toured. Unless those teams manage to win in the sub continent, we Indians don't think they are in any way superior to us. Only SA put up a fight whenever they tour India. Every team is strong in their own conditions which is what exactly team India are. Get over it.

  • Pedpathpres on August 23, 2012, 20:55 GMT

    For heaven's sake! this innings by Pujara is obviously a great milestone to pass. Now let us all back off any exaggerated comparisons with Dravid or any one else, and let him develop as best he can . I happen to believe that this tendency that we (Indian supporters and fans) have to swing from massive enthusiasm to massive disappointment does nobody any good. No none at the Test Cricket level will always be successful , and no one will have the amazing record of Bradman (IMHO)--- but we can all agree to enjoy good performances like this one.

  • MasterClass on August 23, 2012, 20:35 GMT

    Superb article Purohit! Indeed I am SAVORING every moment! The 18-months of bitter disappointment (hoping to see him playing) has been worth it!

  • on August 23, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    A test century is a test century. So whilst you would not want to take anything away from him, the fact is that it came against a side which is ranked 8th in the world, and it came against a bowling attack which did not ask many questions. Bigger tests lie ahead for Pujara, but its a good beginning. One would hope he keeps his head on his shoulders and does not get carried away. We can ill-afford another Rohit Sharma!

  • on August 23, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    One of the finest hundreds i have seen for many years...and not boasting it...yes it has come on home ground, flat pitch and weak opposition...but a young batsman, coming back...and talk of the town...the pressure of being called the next big thing...he has performed exceptionally well. As the author mentioned, the thing that stood out is his temperament. I am sure he will do well on alien pitches too...he batted well in SA in one of the matches, though didnt get a big score..bt he definitely has the capability :) wish him all the luck

  • warneneverchuck on August 23, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    @bnh1985. U will never make name by scoring only in ENG Aus and SA. If u can't play well in subcontinent turning wickets u r useless batsman

  • Vindaliew on August 23, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    That 72 he scored against Australia (which had me a nervous wreck at the edge of my seat) was arguably a more defining innings which showed us the class Pujara has, but it's always good to get that first century out of the way - here's hoping he can make it, in Gooch's words, a big daddy.

  • BnH1985Fan on August 23, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    Batting on the flat tracks is easy -- not to take anything away from Pujara. But as Rohit Sharma and Raina will attest to, the real test will come on pitches in England, SA and Australia. That is where you make a name, not in the subcontinent against a weak attack on a flat track.

  • on August 23, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    Indeed! Let's not bog him down with unfair millstones around his neck about the man he'd replace. Eventually when Tendulkar retires who knows what would be the form, and presence of Kohli, Rahane, and Badrinath/ Raina or even Abhinav Mukund? Who knows where Pujara might have to bat to best utilize his skills. He might replace Laxman someday, bailing the team out with the tail and ignoring personal stats. But he's perhaps the closest thing to a test batsman of the incumbents, and that has been built on more first-class rigours than IPL slogs. Let's celebrate that quality, and hope he values it back as much.

  • Unmesh_cric on August 23, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Well done, Pujara. Keep it up! I have high hopes from this fellow. In this age of T20, this guy is a classical Test batsman which is quite refreshing.

  • on August 23, 2012, 19:08 GMT

    I am very Happy for pujara, i had told myself that he would be a similar addition to indian team, as kohli was. i am also happy that the indian team supports him well, as they send him to bat at No.3 instead of kohli. soon kohli will move up to the number.4 spot, when sachin leaves, and the team will continue to build and become a strong young side. India should drop raina, and put sehwag in his postion, and give a chance to rahane, as he will be the future opener for india, with gambir. sehwag will be very useful down the order with dhoni, too give a run boost.

  • MunafAhmed811 on August 23, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Prediction was right...Pujara is next wall

  • on August 23, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Kudos.. Too early to compare him to Dravid but has displayed Dravid like temperament and humility..

  • screamingeagle on August 23, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    'Savour him, for he is a rarity.' Well said.

  • on August 23, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    Pujara Now.. Rahane soon.. If only MSD would keep his ego down

  • bigdhonifan on August 23, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    So Pujara is 'Dravid', Kohli is 'Laxman' and Raina is 'Ganguly'. But what joy that Tendulkar is still 'Tendulkar'!

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  • bigdhonifan on August 23, 2012, 18:00 GMT

    So Pujara is 'Dravid', Kohli is 'Laxman' and Raina is 'Ganguly'. But what joy that Tendulkar is still 'Tendulkar'!

  • on August 23, 2012, 18:03 GMT

    Pujara Now.. Rahane soon.. If only MSD would keep his ego down

  • screamingeagle on August 23, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    'Savour him, for he is a rarity.' Well said.

  • on August 23, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Kudos.. Too early to compare him to Dravid but has displayed Dravid like temperament and humility..

  • MunafAhmed811 on August 23, 2012, 18:51 GMT

    Prediction was right...Pujara is next wall

  • on August 23, 2012, 19:08 GMT

    I am very Happy for pujara, i had told myself that he would be a similar addition to indian team, as kohli was. i am also happy that the indian team supports him well, as they send him to bat at No.3 instead of kohli. soon kohli will move up to the number.4 spot, when sachin leaves, and the team will continue to build and become a strong young side. India should drop raina, and put sehwag in his postion, and give a chance to rahane, as he will be the future opener for india, with gambir. sehwag will be very useful down the order with dhoni, too give a run boost.

  • Unmesh_cric on August 23, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Well done, Pujara. Keep it up! I have high hopes from this fellow. In this age of T20, this guy is a classical Test batsman which is quite refreshing.

  • on August 23, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    Indeed! Let's not bog him down with unfair millstones around his neck about the man he'd replace. Eventually when Tendulkar retires who knows what would be the form, and presence of Kohli, Rahane, and Badrinath/ Raina or even Abhinav Mukund? Who knows where Pujara might have to bat to best utilize his skills. He might replace Laxman someday, bailing the team out with the tail and ignoring personal stats. But he's perhaps the closest thing to a test batsman of the incumbents, and that has been built on more first-class rigours than IPL slogs. Let's celebrate that quality, and hope he values it back as much.

  • BnH1985Fan on August 23, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    Batting on the flat tracks is easy -- not to take anything away from Pujara. But as Rohit Sharma and Raina will attest to, the real test will come on pitches in England, SA and Australia. That is where you make a name, not in the subcontinent against a weak attack on a flat track.

  • Vindaliew on August 23, 2012, 19:33 GMT

    That 72 he scored against Australia (which had me a nervous wreck at the edge of my seat) was arguably a more defining innings which showed us the class Pujara has, but it's always good to get that first century out of the way - here's hoping he can make it, in Gooch's words, a big daddy.