Pujara is as crucial to India as Kohli

By Gaurav Joshi

Ranchi:   During the heated final day in Bangalore, David Warner worked a Ravi Ashwin delivery off his pads through the leg-side, the ball thudded into Cheteshwar Pujara pads at short leg and came to a halt. Pujara ever so gently picked it up and tried to throw down the stumps with a gentle under arm throw, which Warne blocked with his feet. To Warner surprise and everyone that saw it, Pujara turned around and appealed for interference. Warner had both feet safely behind the crease and let out a smirk.

For all those that have watched Pujara since he debuted in Test cricket over seven years ago, this was about the most out of the line, the Indian No.3 had ever got in his career.   He would follow it up with video on the bcci website where he shared a laugh on how he let Warner know that Ashwin had dismissed him on nine instances in Test cricket.   He was also the first man to come in and stand behind Kohli when Steve Smith was seen looking towards the dressing room.

All of these things are unlike Pujara, he is supposed to be the man that demoralises the opposition by giving them an impression that his willow gets wider with every defensive stroke. He is not supposed to indulge in sledging, he is the quite kid that often goes unnoticed but is as crucial to India as Kohli.

This home season Pujara is the only other batsmen, other than Kohli that has amassed over 1000 runs. But the man known as ”˜Chintu’ to his peers in the dressing room has become more than a run scoring machine.

Pujara has learnt to assert himself on the opposition. He has laid the foundation for Kohli and the rest of the team to thrive on this home season. He has realised the sense of responsibility and he has been an active voice on the field during discussions between the vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli.

The Australians might have spent all their energy on dismantling Kohli but Pujara has escaped from their grasp.   With the series on the line and a pitch that is expected to have no bounce, the stage is set for Pujara to further make his presence felt, in more ways than one.


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