England vs India, 2nd Test: The pain of being Cheteshwar Pujara
In my seventh semester of engineering, a batchmate of mine in a different department was going through a harrowing time. He was neither the best in academics nor was he good in aptitude and as a result, he was always on the edge, both as far clearing his exams and getting a job was concerned.
Looking at his scenario, one of the professors commented,
"Have you heard of Murphy's Law? It says, " Anything that can wrong will go wrong". That's what he's going through right now,"
I was perhaps a bit too young to understand then, but all those years later I do get it now and that through the eyes of a cricketer.
Cheteshwar Pujara is not everybody's favourite cricketer. In the modern-day environment, he finds a place in the books of only those who like a scrap. Who likes to watch hard-nosed defending. That is what you get from him.
However, right now as one thinks of him, he/she must be feeling just one kind of emotion towards him: pity. That after, in his comeback game, he was run-out for 1 and to make matters worse went back with the heavens opening up and the rain lashing onto the outfield.
Walking back, Pujara will be completely forgiven if the thoughts running in his mind were "Why me? Why has everything conspired against me."? For in a career spanning just under eight years, the cricketer has endured a lot, in equal measure, both on and off the field.
India's run-rate isn't where it should be in Test cricket. Who is to blame for it? Pujara.
The management wants to accommodate, first Rohit Sharma in the side, and now KL Rahul. Who do we drop? Pujara.
It is as if to resolve in the team, the man under the spotlight is him. Tomorrow if the team gets late to the venue, you never know he could be blamed for praying the Almighty longer than he should have.
If there is one cricketer in the present side who cares most about Test cricket and doing well in the format, it is him. He has no business, going to England, season after season, in the early part of the summer with the pitches ideal for bowlers and play, in order to improve. To get ready. To stay in rhythm.
And yet, when he returns, what is the first thing that happens to him: He is dropped. Dropped not only because his county form wasn't great, but also because the management wants to include another player. That player walks in and flops in the two chances he gets. What does the management do next? Bring Pujara back to the XI, only for him to be run-out for 1.
In the modern-day world, one of the most popular acts that you will see, especially among those who hate what they do is the act of cribbing and in that, the most popular quote you will hear would be, "Why is life so unfair to me."?
Try putting yourselves once in Pujara's shoes. Maybe you'll feel better.