Cheteshwar Pujara: The next Rahul Dravid!
When we talk about Cheteshwar Pujara, he looks like a tailor-made player for Test cricket. With his sheer patience and consistent batting style, Pujara has been seen as the new wall of Indian test squad, following the departure of former legend Rahul Dravid.
Pujara was born in Rajkot in 1988 and was a prolific run-scorer in every grade, since childhood. In 2005, he played his first match for Saurashtra and scored tons of runs for the club, at Ranji level. However, he made his test debut in the year 2010 at Bangalore. Apart from having a solid defense, Pujara also shares the same charisma of Dravid, like calmness, dedication and hardworking nature.
He made his test debut against Australia at Bangalore, in October 2010. In the second innings of the same Test, he batted at number 3 and capitalized the opportunity by playing a crucial inning of 72. In 2012, he made a comeback by scoring his maiden test century against New Zealand. Next, he cemented his spot in the Indian test cricket team by becoming the highest run scorer in India's tour of South Africa, in the year 2013.
However, 2014 tour of England turned outs to be a disappointing one for him, as he managed to score only 222 runs in the 5 test match series and was made the scapegoat for the humiliating series loss.
To overcome the difficulty against playing in overseas conditions, he played for Yorkshire during the Indian premier league 2018. Though the stint wasn't a successful one but it gave him a much-needed experience using which he has become the best batsman in the current Australian series. Here also, he has a similarly as Dravid also went through a bad patch in 2007-08 but came back strongly in England tour of 2011 and was the best Indian batsman on the tour.
Pujara and Dravid share numerous coincidences, in terms of achieving landmarks.
When it comes to the milestones, Pujara has completed his 5000 test runs in his 108th inning against Australia. Coincidentally, Dravid had also taken the exact same number of innings to complete his 5000 test runs. Furthermore, both Dravid and Pujara completed their 3000 and 4000 runs in exact same numbers of innings, 67 and 84 innings respectively.
In the recently played 2nd test against Australia in Adelaide, Pujara has been adjudged the man of the match for his brilliant 123 in the first innings and 72 in the second innings. Similarly, Rahul Dravid was also awarded the man of the match against Australia, at Adelaide in 2003 for his match-winning performance of 233 and 72*. Both Pujara and Dravid possess the average of 50+ in their test careers.
Pujara is arguably one of the best test batsmen in recent times, for India. He puts a price on his wicket and doesn't throw it away easily.
Till now, Pujara has played only 66 tests compared to Dravid's 164 tests and needs to perform well consistently, especially in the foreign soil, to become a legend of Dravid's stature.