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Cheteshwar Pujara: The transition is complete

Last updated on: November 16, 2012 21:22 IST

Cheteshwar Pujara: The transition is complete



I don't like getting out."

So said Cheteshwar Pujara in an interview a few years back.

On Friday, he reiterated the statement, having scored a maiden double hundred against England in the opening Test at Motera.

- Congratulate Pujara for 1st double ton

A consistent performer at the domestic level, known for his knack of scoring big, it has taken Pujara quite some time to make the transition to the international level.

A lot of it has to do with the consistency and fortitude of the player he has been considered a replacement of -- Rahul Dravid. While the 'Wall' kept performing, his deemed 'successor' waited patiently.

Though Pujara has often been quoted as saying he won't be able to replace Dravid, many opine, if anybody could, it is him. And if his recent performances are anything to go by, the Saurashtra player has, at least, started on the right track.

Having scored a 72 (in the second innings) against Australia on debut in Bangalore two years back, in a match India won, Pujara earned himself a trip to South Africa. However, failure against the Proteas meant he had to wait 19 months for another opportunity.

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Image: Cheteshwar Pujara


'It is a challenge as well as a big responsibility to bat at No 3'

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Not one to be demoralized, he continued performing consistently at the domestic level till the selectors took note and picked him for the home series against New Zealand this August.

The 24-year-old grabbed the opportunity with both his hands, aggregating 216 runs in two Tests (@72.00) and playing his part in India's triumph. The most noticeable of his knocks was a 159 in Hyderabad, one that proved he could score big at the biggest level as well.

He maintained consistency in the subsequent Challenger Trophy, where he scored successive centuries while representing India 'B'.

And with his 206 not out against England in Motera, the young batsman not only announced his arrival but also consolidated the No. 3 spot -- once the position held by Dravid.

Asked about the significance of the spot, Pujara was forthcoming.

"It is always important to bat up the order," he explained, adding, "When you are batting at No.3 you will end up playing the new ball.

"So it is a challenge as well as a big responsibility to bat at that position."

Image: Cheteshwar Pujara

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'I don't want to take anything for granted'

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Having scored two big knocks at the Test level, it was obvious he would be asked about comparing them with the domestic level.

"There is a difference between domestic and international cricket," admitted Pujara.

"You don't get too many loose balls and have to work hard for your runs," he added.

The 24-year-old admitted his failure to score a ton in the tour match against the visitors had been a motivation.

"It was good that I got out on 87 in that tour match," said Pujara, adding, "Otherwise I would have not had that motivation to score a big hundred here."

Now that he has got two big knocks in succession the burden of expectations will palpably weigh on him.

 "I don't want to take anything for granted," said Pujara, adding, "I want to continue with my good form and focus on each and every game without worrying about my future.

"I always believe in preparation and want to be fully prepared for each game.

"I wouldn't like to give my wicket easily."

Point noted.

Image: Cheteshwar Pujara

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