A man for long innings - Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara, known for his huge run getting streaks in Test Matches for Saurashtra domestically and India internationally, was born today in 1988
Cheteshwal Pujara - File Image; Source: BCCI/NDTV; Public Domain

Born on 25th Jan 1988

While his absence from the limited-overs side is evident, he is a vital cog in the Indian Test Team. Cheteshwar Arvind Pujara, born on the 25th of January, 1988 in Rajkot, Gujarat, has gone on to become one of the most recognised and revered cricketers in India.

Cricket runs in the Pujara blood- both his father and his uncle had played for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy. Cheteshwar also developed a penchant for cricket at a young age and started practising with his father, while simultaneously completing his BBA.

His mother passed away when he was 17 due to cancer, just as Pujara was about to make his under-19 Test debut for India.

This was 2005, where he scored 211 runs and helped India win by an innings and 137 runs. His outstanding run with the bat continued when he became the leading scorer for the U-19 World Cup with an average of 117 in 2006. His innings in the knockout matches helped India cruise through to the finals. Although India lost the finals, his performance caught the eye of the selectors.

His domestic career would blossom from, and in 2013, he became the 9th batsman to score three first-class triple centuries - a true heavy, but steady, run-getter.

His made his International Test Debut in 2010 in the second test against Australia at home. He came into the side after injuries to Yuvraj Singh and VVS Laxman. He merely scored 4 runs in the first innings but followed it up with a well made 72 in the second. Although he was impressive, he didn't get a chance to cement his place in the team because of veterans such as Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

Meanwhile, he kept on piling runs in the domestic circuit. He made it impossible for the selectors to ignore him and on his comeback in 2012 against New Zealand, he scored a well made 159.

He was then selected for the test series against England later that year and he cemented his place in the side after scoring his first double hundred in the first test and ended up the second-highest run-getter in the series when most of the other Indian batsmen failed miserably.

He followed it up with a good string of scores in South Africa and subsequent home series as well. His selflessness, patience and grit led to him being hailed as Rahul Dravid's successor, which is quite an achievement in and of itself.

Post that, however, he was outdone by the bowlers in consequent overseas tours but performed well at home, which led to doubts being raised at his place in the team especially when Coach Ravi Shastri was looking to build a Test unit that performed overseas. He was dropped from the team in the first match of 2018 for the tour of England but upon being called back, he gave strong performances. On the next tour of Australia in December, he rescued the team out of a peculiar position in the first game and helped them win the game. He went through a purple patch for the rest of the series as well and he emerged as India's highest run-scorer on the tour and helped them win a test series in Australia for the first time ever. He continued performing well on subsequent tours as well and made himself the team's batting mainstay.

On the recently concluded Australian tour, he played many valiant innings and helped India retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy yet again. This series was in particular historic because the Indian team were playing their third-string sides and multiple prominent names sustained injuries throughout the four games. As a senior player in the side, Pujara put up his hand and went on to the field to save games every time the team demanded him to. He batted for hours, held one end and tired out the Australian bowlers, which made it easier for his teammates to score runs on the other end.

In the third Test against Australia played in Ranchi in 2017, Pujara scored 202 off 525 balls, in the first innings, which was the longest inning by an Indian batsman in terms of the number of deliveries faced.
Chaitanya Rawat Author
Hello! I'm Chaitanya. Among the interests already mentioned, I also like video gaming and idle traveling around the city, for food and sights! History is my passion, and if you want to talk about my work, do drop me an email!

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