Cheteshwar Pujara : As the only 13th Indian cricketer to play 100 Test matches, Cheteshwar Pujara‘s longevity and determination in the longest format of the game have been a true symbol of his greatness. Though he may not receive the same amount of attention as some of his fellow teammates, his contributions to the Indian cricket team have been no less significant. Pujara has single-handedly filled the void left by the great Rahul Dravid, and his unassuming character and workhorse ethic have made him an invaluable member of the team. In this article, we will take a look at three of Pujara’s most underrated knocks in Test cricket.
Cheteshwar Pujara : Underrated Knock #1: India’s Win at the Gabba in 2021
India’s win at the Gabba in 2021, which was the series decider, is one of the greatest victories in the country’s Test cricket history. While most people continue to laud the efforts of Rishabh Pant and Shubman Gill, it was Pujara’s grit and resilience that really stood out in that innings. After losing an early wicket, Pujara shared a memorable 114-run partnership with Gill that laid the foundation for the win. He also shared a crucial 61-run stand with Pant. Pujara scored 56 off 211 deliveries, with each run being worth its weight in gold. Throughout the innings, he took several blows to the body but refused to give up. Post-game, the then coach Ravi Shastri referred to him as the ultimate warrior. This was perhaps the most important innings of Pujara’s career.
Cheteshwar Pujara : Underrated Knock #2: India’s Test Match Win in England in 2021
The fourth Test of India’s tour of England in 2021 is famous for Rohit Sharma’s maiden overseas Test century, but Pujara played an equally important knock in the game. After England took an 89-run lead in the first innings, India desperately needed their batters to step up. Before the game, there were questions about Pujara’s position in the team, as he had been enduring a tough period. However, he put all those doubts to rest by playing a crucial hand in the second innings. Pujara shared a 153-run partnership with Sharma, making 61 runs off 127 deliveries. He looked at complete ease against the English bowlers, and India eventually won the match by 157 runs, as England put up a horror showing in the fourth innings.
Cheteshwar Pujara : Underrated Knock #3: Pujara’s Debut Against Australia in 2010
Pujara made his debut for India in the second innings of the test match against Australia in 2010. Australia had scored 478 runs in their first innings, thanks to a terrific century by Marcus North. In response, India made 495 runs, taking a slender lead of 17 runs. Though Pujara didn’t have a great first outing, as he was trapped in front by Mitchell Johnson, he bounced back in the second innings. The visitors were bowled out for 223, setting India a target of 207. India lost an early wicket in the form of Virender Sehwag, and Pujara came in to steady the ship. He made 77 crucial runs and set up a fine victory for India, also announcing himself on the world stage. It was a busy innings, as he was constantly looking for runs, often stepping out against Nathan Hauritz and disturbing his rhythm in the process.