Right from the time Cheteshwar Pujara made his debut in the year 2010, he has made rapid progress in international cricket. But his journey was not smooth.
He had to overcome a lot of challenges that came along his way. The Indian team at that point was at the peak of their prowess and had the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman who were indeed legends and greatest ambassadors to Indian cricket. Making a mark and establishing yourself in the presence of these legendary cricketers was not an easy task.
However, as Pujara was making a strong case for himself and trying to seal a permanent place in the team, a knee injury forced him out of the entire 2011 season. He made a strong comeback by scoring a century against New Zealand in 2012.
But his joy was short lived. The year 2014 was a forgetful year for Pujara. He was woefully out of form and had a string of low scores in England and Australia. He was neither able to counter the swinging deliveries in England nor was he able to get adjusted to bouncy tracks in Australia. Moreover, skipper Virat Kohli also dropped him in the Sydney Test because of his inability to rotate the strike.
Any other cricketer at that moment would have indulged in a lot of introspection and self-doubt. But Pujara was completely unruffled and considered that moment as just a learning curve in his career. He had realized that obstacles are part of everyone’s life and one needs to have a strong mental toughness and fortitude to overcome them.
It is only Pujara who can stand at forward short leg or silly point despite having undergone two knee surgeries. He may not be as flamboyant as the modern-day batsman. But he certainly has the ability to stand tall and grind out the opposition.
The way he has made minor adjustments to his batting technique has yielded him fruitful results. He was instrumental in winning the Test series in Sri Lanka (2015) and Australia (2018-2019).
Apart from Pujara, 2010 also saw five other youngsters making their debut into the Indian Test team. But unlike Pujara, they were unable to establish themselves in the international arena.
#1 Subramaniam Badrinath
If you ever associate the phrase 'right man at the wrong place’, it should definitely be Subramaniam Badrinath.
Hailing from Tamil Nadu, he had amassed tonnes of runs for his state in the Ranji Trophy and was truly the backbone of his team. It was only a matter of time that an international call up beckoned him. But, the wait was much longer than anticipated.
Only after he turned 29, he was finally drafted into the Indian team due to the absence of Rahul Dravid. He cashed in on the opportunity by scoring a gutsy half-century (56) against South Africa at Nagpur.
The attack had the likes of Dale Styen, Morne Morkel and Paul Harris and he along Virender Sehwag had stitched together a partnership of 136 runs from 56/3. It was very mature innings from a debutant. Sadly, he just got only one more Test to play for India.
Despite having an excellent record in the domestic circuit, the selectors did not consider him for selection and wanted to give chance to youngsters.
Badrinath announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on August 31, 2018.