India news March 26, 2013

Pujara could succeed in ODIs too - Dravid

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former India captain Rahul Dravid has said Cheteshwar Pujara, who succeeded him at No. 3 in India's Test side, could have what it takes to perform in ODIs as well. He was speaking at 'A Day with Dravid', an ESPNcricinfo event in which nine cricket fans got the chance to interact with him from across the world.

Pujara has an average of 65 after 13 Tests, having scored four hundreds and three half-centuries, and has drawn comparisons with Dravid. He hasn't made his ODI debut yet, but in 61 domestic one-day matches Pujara averages 56.97, with eight hundreds and 17 fifties.

"He's had a great start to his international career, in fact a much better start than I did," Dravid said. "I think he has been brought up in the old school of batsmanship. He is developing more shots and he approaches Test cricket in the same way as I did.

"He's got some good basics in place," Dravid said. "You can see that he is constantly improving and he is someone who will find answers to questions. He is going to have his ups and downs and face a lot of challenges adapting to different forms of the game and conditions. With his attitude and the way he is going about playing his cricket, I think he will find answers to a lot of these questions and one of them will be one-day cricket."

Dravid also said, during the event, that Test cricket needed needed better scheduling, and more matches for all teams, in order to survive. "One thing I'd like to see definitely is scheduling to be a lot better, and the ability for most countries to play a lot more Test cricket," he said. "I'd love to see all the teams get the opportunity to play a lot more cricket against each other. I think it will really see Test cricket come up and improve, and the only way for it to survive is to play it as often as possible."

He spoke in length about his desire to perform well abroad when he had started playing international cricket. He played first-class cricket in India for four years before making his Test debut in England, where he scored 95 at Lord's in 1996.

"I wanted to do well abroad in conditions that I wasn't used to," he said. "When I was growing up, one of my coaches stressed that you have to do well outside India to be judged a very good player. One of the things I found difficult adjusting to was bounce early on in my international career.

"When I went to Australia, South Africa or England for the first time, I would see some of the foreign top-order batsmen leave balls on length. As soon as the ball pitched on a particular area, they would leave it. Indian batsmen's instinct was to play at those balls because if you left those balls in India, they would probably hit the top of off or middle stump. That ability to adjust to that bounce and know which ball to leave instinctively on length, especially early on in your innings, was one of the most difficult adjustments to play."

Answering fans' questions on the contemporary game and the changes it has seen over the years, Dravid expressed his admiration for the players who can play the switch hit, but also said he wanted the rule to be fair for the bowlers.

"I can't imagine the way some guys pull that off," he said. "When I see someone like a [Kevin] Pietersen or [David] Warner pull it off, you can see the value of the shot like that. If you were to play the switch hit, then the wide rule should change as well. You should allow the bowler to bowl outside the off stump. I think it's an incredibly skilful and difficult shot to play and I'm all for it as long as you give the bowler protection as well."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on March 28, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    I like to make a corrrection my earlier input about Tendulkar's S/R in ODI's which is 86, Not <70. Only Sehwag has S/R of> 100. KP has just 86, whist Dhoni's S/R is 88 & Kohli is at 86. So even amongst heavy hitters 85 S/R is more typical. In T-20 you need over 100 S/R not in ODI's.

  • Ashok on March 28, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    @cricketsunami: Can you show me any batsmen other than Sehwag or KP, who score at S/R of 100? A S/R of 70 to 80 for the top order batsman in the ODI's is more typical throughout the world. Look up the stats. before you make such wild statements.Tendulkar got most of his ODI scores at a S/R of <70. Pujara gets that S/R even in test matches. His last 82* vs. the Aussies in the 4th Test on a very difficult wkt. was scored at a S/R of 85. Even his earlier double century vs. the Aussies in the Test match was at a S/R of over 80. If Pujara gets his runs at S/R of 80, it is in line 4.8 runs/over. My reference to Dravid's comment was to justify the logic in selecting Pujara for ODI's. Coming from a Legend like Dravid, it is more authoritative. Even Dhoni will take a note of his statement!

  • Tushar on March 28, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    @cricketsunami : yes, u are absolutely right. A guy with 11000 ODI runs, 12 hundreds, 83 (not too many people have scored more than this) 50's and an average of almost 40 is surely average or below average, as u suggest.

    Well, if u can't score at a strike rate of 100, u shouldn't be playin ODI's. WOW... Than modern greats like yusuf pathan, Shahid Afridi, Kieron Pollard, with very high averages, almost touching 20's will carry the legacy forward. And mediocre ones like Dravid, Sachin, Ganguly, Ponting were just a blip on the Radar. Right??

    And coming back to the article, if you all see Pujara playing in ODI's, u'll understand what he is capable of. A player who can easily score at 80+ and hold an end up. That is exactly what we need in the team so that players like Dhoni, Jadeja, Raina can come in and launch straightaway instead of trying to rescue the innings, coz we all know Virat throws it away after his hundred. Never seen him stay till the end...!!! pls publish

  • uncle bob on March 28, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    Posted by Nampally on (March 27, 2013, 15:24 GMT) It is nice to see a legend like Dravid endorsing Pujara for ODI's as well. When I came strongly in support of Pujara in Cric Info columns for being benched in all 3 ODI's vs. England by Dhoni, I was heavily criticised by some of the commenters. I based my arguments for justifying playing pujara on the same basis as Dravid is doing.

    Dont jump up and down because Dravid said so. Dravid himself was never a great and impact full player in ODIs. Players like Dravid and laxman are great in test but in shorter versions they wer average to below average. In ODIs you should score runs but its important to score runs faster. If you cant score at strike rate of 100, you should not be playing ODIs, plain and simple.

  • Nish on March 28, 2013, 14:36 GMT


    Absolutely agree with you... Do not put Pujara under pressure by comparing him to these legends.....

    He has the ingredients.. now its up to him to grind, tune and announce himself on foreign tracks...

    Hope Pujara meets all our hopes and expectations..

  • Nish on March 28, 2013, 14:28 GMT


    If you think DRAVID has to flatter himself by comparing with Pujara at this stage of their careers..... I pity you...

    Its like when Sunny says he sees himself in a young tendulkar in the early 90s... Sunny after scroing 10K+ without helmet on fast bouncy pitches to the best of pacemen....ofcorse at a far slow scoring rate.... and you see couple of drives from sachin... and call not flatter yourself.... COME ON you can do better than that....

    I too love Pujara and .... Hope he lives up to Dravid like how Sachin is to Sunny... a modern day adaptation of their CLASS.

  • Nish on March 28, 2013, 14:18 GMT


    I agree that Pujara needs to run faster in ODIs.. However his worth is in holding one end and scroring close to run a ball... than stealing quick singles... especially on foreign pitches...where Indian batsmen are walking wickets against swing and bounce......If he can compensate for his slowness with close to 85% strike rate..., I am sure everyone will be happy..

  • Nish on March 28, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    Approaches test cricket in the same way as I did ----- I think dravid is talking about the high price that Pujara puts on his wicket.... and how he goes on to score big, once he gets a start and can stop one end if needed.....

    It is too early to compare Pujara to Dravid.. but he is the only one that looks to be relatively solid in technique and approaches the game the same way he did... REMEMBER DRAVID made those big runs on foreign pitches....and possibly the only Indian to have his outside average better than or close to his Home average

  • Nish on March 28, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    Guys, as much as I like Pujara... he is still untested outside the subcontinent... His defense is definitely not as solid as Dravid...but he is far more aggressive and good at finding gaps.....

    Do not try to belittle the LEGEND DRAVID.. he has done extremely well in foreign conditions, where all those superstars have failed...

  • VIKAS on March 28, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    cheteshwar pujara has cool person and technically solid also good temparament . soon we can see him leading indian test squad.