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Cheteshwar Pujara comes of age in Test cricket

Cheteshwar Pujara has shown his class but the real litmus test is yet to come
By Cricket Zone
Wed, Mar 06, 2013 13:05:56 GMT

Cheteshwar Pujara comes of age in Test cricket
The new sensation in the Indian Test team, Cheteshwar Pujara, is just 11 Test matches old in international cricket but has hogged the limelight with two double tons. His superlative performance has helped him to climb up in the ICC Test rankings to the eleventh spot.

Rahul Dravid, ‘The Wall’ of the Indian batting line-up, has hung his international boots and the batsman who replaced him at his number three spot is none other than the Saurashtra lad Cheteshwar Pujara.

When you replace a player of Dravid’s caliber the comparisons are inevitable and when you play long, calm and composed knocks in the beginning of the career, the comparisons grow even louder. But this is where fans and followers should refrain themselves as this only adds pressure on a batsman who is in the fledgling days of his career.

Names like Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin were idols to many fans when Rahul Dravid made his debut for India. But Dravid did not try to copy any one of them and just focused on being himself and now he is an idol to many.

Suresh Raina idolized Rahul Dravid as his role-model when he started his cricketing career. Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni idolized Tendulkar but made their own mark in international arena, the comparisons notwithstanding.

In the same way one should leave Cheteshwar Pujara to focus on his own game and stop making comparisons with Rahul Dravid. The 24-year-old has the potential to make his own name in international cricketing arena.

The man from Saurashtra has made a roaring start to his Test career, notching up 1000 runs in just 11 Tests so far with four centuries and two player-of-the-match awards to his name. He is a batsman who comes from the old-batting school, playing more grounded strokes rather than lofting the ball, has a nice solid defense, he can bat for hours and hours, has got the gift of timing and can be defensive when needed.

With the technique he has, he might not be an IPL or a T20 star but he can excel in the most traditional format of the game, which is Test cricket. He is yet to impress in the most high-profile T20 league IPL but has shown his class in the longest version of the game.

He came into the reckoning with three triple hundreds in domestic cricket which helped him earn a place in the Indian Test side in 2010.

Pujara is a man loaded with grit, determination and character. Not too long ago he was on a zimmer frame because of a serious knee injury but he was not the one to give up. He came back strong and scored centuries for India A against West Indies A in the Caribbean and earned his place back in the Indian national Test side.

Cheteshwar Pujara is the new rising star of the Indian Test team and he is the future of Indian cricket. A player is always judged by his overseas performances. Even Pujara’s test of technique, temperament and character will come to the fore, when he gets the chance to score runs in overseas conditions. That will be his litmus test but technique and temperament-wise, Pujara looks well-equipped for any challenge.

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