Cheteshwar Pujara hasn’t managed to hide his baby face despite growing a beard. There is nothing childish about the 25-year-old’s batting, though. The Saurashtra batsman completed his second Test double hundred here on Monday.
Playing only his 11th Test, the right-hander completed 1,000 runs in Test cricket during the course of this knock, thereby equalling the Indian record set by Sunil Gavaskar in 1973. “I am not really aware about the records. I am happy to have achieved whatever I have for the country and I am proud to represent India. I like scoring hundreds, whether it is for the country or for my club. When you play for the country and score hundreds, it’s a different kind of satisfaction,” Pujara said.
Pujara reckons there is “a bit of help for spinners” in the pitch. “There is more turn and the odd ball is jumping. So you have to apply yourself to bat well. There is help for the spinners and that’s why wickets are falling,” he said.
Sample this. When an Aussie journalist asked him where the visitors were lacking, Pujara said, “They need to apply themselves. They don’t know how to go about (their business) on turning tracks. Actually, we know their strengths and are trying to find out their weaknesses. So far, we have been successful. Our spinners need to continue what they are doing.”
Mind you, Pujara scored a chunk of those 204 runs with a pulled hamstring. “Yesterday (Sunday), in the first session, it was difficult to run and think about my batting as my hamstring was sore. I just wanted to hang around and let the time pass. Afterwards, I was much better and was able to concentrate on my batting,” he revealed.
Pujara, whose wife Puja was in attendance at the stadium, also spoke about the team’s plan to induce the sweep. “I think the plan was to bowl in the rough. Even when I batted, the ball was spinning from the rough,” he said.
On his 370-run stand with M Vijay, Pujara said, “Initially, we wanted to ensure we don’t lose early wickets. We had lost Virender Sehwag already. The ball was doing a bit and we were aware of the conditions.”
Behind every successful man...
Whenever Pujara’s wife, Puja, has been in attendance at the stadium to watch a Test match, the batsman has scored a double ton. His first Test double hundred came in Ahmedabad against England soon after their engagement. The next one came in Hyderabad in only his second Test appearance after entering into wedlock. And yes, Puja witnessed the proceedings from the stands on both occasions.