Pujara cannot be compared with ex-greats yet, but his innings does beckon of good times ahead

After a battering in the last season at the hands of England and Australia, India have started their campaign well with a comprehensive performance over New Zealand in the match in the ongoing test match at Hyderabad.

India have been clinical in their approach till the third day of the first Test and all their departments have come good but then the best thing that happened that the team did not feel the absence of their retired stalwarts Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman in the match so far.

And the best part is that India has taken Kiwis by the scruff of the neck. And one man who has stood the test of time is Cheteshwar Pujara, who announced his inclusion in the Test side after injury with élan.

The youngster touted to fill the void created by Rahul Dravid’s retirement has started off well. Pujara playing in his first Test match after a gap of one-and-a-half year has marked his comeback with a thumping authority and scored a scintillating century to take India to a strong position. Well the hundred does not yet bring him into comparison with the great Rahul Dravid, but his innings surely has notified India of the good things to come.

Comparing him with Dravid will be foolish, but Pujara’s knock showed that he has it in him to go a distance. His innings of 159 off 309 deliveries, laced with 19 fours and a six, showed patience and determination, something that is quite similar to Dravid. Pujara has always been considered as a batsman who has huge potential and can handle the pressure of being one of the mainstay of the high profile batting line-up and his innings just proved that.

But then what makes it more interesting is to know the fact that 24-year-old batsman from Saurasthra was able to hang on to his ground and deliver under pressure. He was under immense pressure to deliver right from the word go, considering the fact that he was replacing Dravid at number three position and The Walls’s dominance over the years in that position needs no explanation. It is often seen that when a youngster is put through such kind of pressure, they tend to crumble but Pujara showed nerves of steel and delivered according to everyone’s expectation.

Even though he has started off well, he will face the real test when Team India goes for a foreign tour as that is the time his real quality will be judged. After his fairly good outing against West Indies ‘A’ in Caribbean, a fact can be established that Pujara can very well manoeuvre foreign pitches but then again a second string side always can never match up to the strength of the senior team.

He has shown in the past that he has the temperament to play the longer version of the game after he scored three first class triple tons in a span of a month.

Pujara has definitely got the start that he would have wanted but then things will not be easy for him as there are others players making a beeline to make it to the Test team.

It is a very well-known fact that Dravid cannot be replaced because players like him come once in a generation. But what Pujara’s batting has shown is that he can very well fill the void created by Dravid’s exit and all that he has to do is build on the start that he has got after his comeback and be consistent enough to make that position his own just like predecessor “The Wall”.

By Samikshan Dutta Choudhury
Indian Sports News