In this series on prospective players, we had earlier covered Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Piyush Chawla, S. Badrinath, Ranadeb Bose, Joginder Sharma, R. Ashwin and Ishant Sharma. As has been pointed out earlier, most of these players are just prospects – they will still have to perform well in the domestic cricket before they make a serious claim for a spot in the national team.
In the sixth post of this series, we talk about another budding batsman from Saurashtra – Cheteshwar Pujara.
Cheteshwar who is a right hand batsman is only 19 years old and came through the ranks of junior cricket. He came in to the limelight after aggregating the maximum number of runs in the U19 World cup (349 runs at an average of 116.33) for which he was named the Player of the tournament. Cheteshwar’s father Arvind Pujara (who is also his coach) and uncle Bipin Pujara have also represented Saurashtra in first class cricket.
Those who have watched him play compliment him on his technique and temperament to play long innings. On his debut for the U19 India squad, Pujara scored a double hundred opening the innings. He also scored a hundred for Saurashtra in his second first class game.
This season in domestic cricket, Pujara scored 595 runs in 12 innings at an average of 59.50 with 2 centuries and 3 half centuries. His Ranji one day stats have been modest with his 4 innings yielding only 87 runs. But that didn’t prevent him from being short listed in the WC squad of 30. The selectors obviously see potential in this young player.
He was also a recipient of the Gavaskar-Border scholarship which would have allowed him to spend 6 weeks at Australia’s Center for Excellence, but curiously couldn’t make it due to some issues with visa.
(Also read Rediff’s special on Pujara.)