Cheteshwar Pujara

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Cheteshwar Pujara
CHETESHWAR PUJARA (16007168057).jpg
Pujara in 2014
Personal information
Full nameCheteshwar Arvind Pujara
Born (1988-01-25) 25 January 1988 (age 33)
Rajkot, Gujarat, India
Height180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
BattingRight-handed
BowlingRight-arm leg break
RoleBatsman
RelationsArvind Pujara (father)
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 266)9 October 2010 v Australia
Last Test11 January 2022 v South Africa
ODI debut (cap 198)1 August 2013 v Zimbabwe
Last ODI19 June 2014 v Bangladesh
ODI shirt no.16
Domestic team information
YearsTeam
2005–presentSaurashtra (squad no. 15)
2010Kolkata Knight Riders (squad no. 25)
2011–2013Royal Challengers Bangalore (squad no. 3)
2014Kings XI Punjab (squad no. 266)
2014Derbyshire (squad no. 9)
2015Yorkshire (squad no. 72)
2017Nottinghamshire (squad no. 3)
2018Yorkshire (squad no. 27)
2021Chennai Super Kings (squad no. 25)
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 95 5 221 103
Runs scored 6,713 51 16,649 4,445
Batting average 43.88 10.20 50.91 54.20
100s/50s 18/32 0/0 50/67 11/29
Top score 206* 27 352 158*
Balls bowled 6 251 6
Wickets 0 6 0
Bowling average 26.16
5 wickets in innings 0
10 wickets in match 0
Best bowling 2/4
Catches/stumpings 65/– 0/– 143/– 39/–
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 11 January 2022

Cheteshwar Arvind Pujara (born 25 January 1988) is an Indian international cricketer who plays Test cricket for India and represents Saurashtra in domestic cricket. He is a right-handed batsman who made his first-class debut for Saurashtra in December 2005 and made his Test debut at Bangalore in October 2010.[1] As of May 9th 2021, he is ranked as the world No.14 Test batsman, according to the ICC Player Rankings with a tally of 697 points.[2] He also played 5 ODI matches for India and was a part of the IPL 2021 winning team Chennai Super Kings.

He was a part of the India A team which toured England in the 2010 summers and was the highest scorer of the tour. In October 2011, the BCCI awarded him a D grade national contract. Known to have a sound technique and the temperament required to play long innings, he was one of the contenders for a spot in the Indian middle order after the retirement of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.[3]

His Test comeback came against New Zealand in August 2012, scoring a century. He made his first double hundred against England at Ahmedabad in November 2012[4] and followed up with another double hundred against Australia in March 2013, both the times steering India to victory and becoming man of the match.[5]

In the 2012 NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, he was the highest scorer with two centuries and one half-century. He became one of the fastest batsmen to reach 1000 runs in Test cricket in just 11 matches and his 18th Test Innings. He won the Emerging Cricketer of the Year 2013.[6]

In February 2017, during the one-off Test match against Bangladesh, he set a new record for the most runs by a batsman in an Indian first-class season, with 1,605 runs.[7] The previous record was 1,604 runs set by Chandu Borde in 1964–65.[7] In November 2017, he scored his twelfth double-century in first-class cricket, the most by an Indian batsman, breaking the previous record set by Vijay Merchant.[8][9]

Early life[edit]

Cheteshwar Pujara was born in Rajkot, Gujarat on 25 January 1988. His father Arvind and his uncle Bipin were Ranji Trophy players for Saurashtra.[10] His father and his mother, Reema Pujara, recognized his talents early and Cheteshwar practised with his father.[10] His mother died in 2005 when he was 17 due to cancer.[10] Cheteshwar Pujara completed his BBA from J.J Kundalia college.

Youth career[edit]

Pujara made his Under-19 Test debut for India against England in 2005. Opening the innings, he scored 211 runs to help India win by an innings and 137 runs.[11] He was also picked in the Indian squad for the 2006 Under-19 Cricket World Cup after scoring three fifties in four innings of the Afro-Asia Under-19 Cup.[12] He was the leading run-scorer of the Under-19 World Cup where he scored 349 runs from 6 innings, including three fifties and a century, at an average of 117.[13] He was the Man of the Tournament in the 2006 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.[14][15]

He scored 97 runs against the West Indies in the quarterfinals[16] before scoring 129 runs not out against England in the semifinals,[17] helping India win by a huge margin of 234 runs. However, he was dismissed for a duck in the final, against Pakistan, which India eventually lost.[18]

Domestic career[edit]

He scored 10 and 203 not out from just 221 balls against Madhya Pradesh at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium at Rajkot[19] to ensure a 203-run victory which qualified Saurashtra for the 2012–13 Ranji Trophy quarter-finals. In his next match, the quarter-final at Saurashtra University in Rajkot against Karnataka, he scored 37 and 352 (dismissed by off spinner K. Gowtham in both innings) to ensure that Saurashtra progressed to the semifinal.[20] Though he was called to the India ODI squad after this success, he was not selected in the first XI.

In 2013, at the age of only 25, Pujara became only the ninth batsman to score three career first-class triple-centuries. His scores were: 302* for Saurashtra against Orissa in 2008/09, 352 for Saurashtra against Karnataka in 2012/13, and 306* for India A against West Indies A in 2013/14.[21] He also holds a record of scoring three triple centuries within a span of one month, although only the last of these was in a first-class match.[22]

Pujara played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the first three seasons of the IPL. In the 2011 players' auction, he was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). He started for RCB for the fourth season of the IPL before injuring his knee in a match against Kochi Tuskers Kerala. The injury kept him out of action for nearly a year before he returned to domestic cricket at the end of 2011.[23][24]

In the 2013–14 Ranji Trophy, he played a lone hand against Bengal at Eden Gardens in November as he scored 102, though his side was bowled out for a meagre 225 in response to Bengal's 303. In the next match against Tamil Nadu at Chennai, he scored a mammoth 269, and struck a 353-run partnership with Jaydev Shah (195) to post a score of 581/6 in response to Tamil Nadu's 565.[25]

In 2014 IPL, Pujara began the season as Virender Sehwag's opening partner and was left out after the first six matches in which he made 125 runs at an average of just 25 at a strike rate of 100.80. After having not been picked by any franchise for the 2015 IPL season, he signed for Yorkshire.[26]

Pujara was the leading run-scorer for Saurashtra in the 2017–18 edition of the Ranji Trophy, making 437 runs in four matches. Joining the side for the quarter-final in the next edition, he helped his team chase down a target of 372 runs against Uttar Pradesh, the highest ever in Ranji Trophy history, making 67 not out in the fourth innings.[27] In the semi-final, marked by a couple of umpiring errors that went his way, Pujara made an unbeaten 131 in the fourth innings, helping his team proceed to their third final in six years.[28][29] In the opening round of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy that season, he scored his maiden T20 century and became the first batsman for Saurashtra to score a century in a T20 match.[30]

Pujara batting for Yorkshire in 2018.

In January 2020, in the 2019–20 Ranji Trophy, Pujara scored his 50th century in first-class cricket.[31]

In February 2021, Pujara was bought by the Chennai Super Kings for 50 lakhs in the IPL auction ahead of the 2021 Indian Premier League.[32] He however did not get a chance to play in any match. [33]

International career[edit]

Test debut[edit]

Pujara was selected for the Indian squad for the 2 match home Test series against Australia in 2010, replacing Yuvraj Singh. He made his debut in the second Test of the series on 9 October 2010 at Bangalore after both Gautam Gambhir and VVS Laxman were down with injuries sustained in the First Test.

While Laxman was off the field injured in the First Test, Pujara took two catches at silly point as a substitute. In his first Test innings, Pujara scored four runs before getting out LBW to Mitchell Johnson on the third ball he faced.

In the second innings, Pujara was sent in at number three in place of Rahul Dravid in a tactical change by captain MS Dhoni. With India needing 207 runs to win, he made 72 before being bowled by an arm ball from Nathan Hauritz.[34]

Breakthrough[edit]

In August 2012, he made a comeback into the team and made his first International Test century, 159 against New Zealand at Hyderabad.

He was selected in India's squad to play four test matches against England. In the first match at Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad he made an unbeaten 206 runs and helped his team to win the match and go 1–0 up in the series. He was also named man of the match for his inning. He continued his good form when he made another hundred in the second match at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. He not only made big scores in next two matches but end the series as second highest run scorer behind England captain Alastair Cook with 438 runs.

He became the 2nd fastest Indian to get to 1,000 Test runs, during the course of his double hundred against Australia in March 2013, at Hyderabad, where he put on a 370-run record 2nd wicket partnership with Murali Vijay. Only Vinod Kambli was faster.

Pujara is also the 12th fastest of all-time. In terms of the number of tests (11 matches), he joined the legendary Sunil Gavaskar for the quickest Indian to reach the mark. Pujara had a brilliant test series against Australia scoring 419 runs, only second to Murali Vijay's 430 in which he slammed a double ton's 204 and two half-centuries (52 and 82).[35]

As Indian opener Virender Sehwag was struggling out of form, it provided the opportunity for Pujara who hit double and triple tons in successive Ranji trophy matches to prove his ability in shorter versions of the game, as he was selected in the 15 member squad for the ODI series against England, but was injured in practice. Following injury, he made his debut against Zimbabwe, scoring 9 runs.[36]

Cementing his place[edit]

On India's tour to South Africa in 2013, he emerged as the highest run-scorer in the Test series, scoring 280 runs at an average of 70.00.[37]

Pujara was picked for the Indian squad for the 2014 Asia Cup that was held in Bangladesh.[38][39] Pujara played in the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh in June 2014[40] and made 0, 11 & 27 respectively.[41][42][43]

Struggle with form[edit]

Pujara during the third Test in Southampton (2014).

Pujara was named in the 16-man squad for the 2014 tour of England. With a best of 55 and a total of 222 runs in five Tests, he had a disappointing series. Despite getting good starts, he failed to convert them into big scores, struggling with his back foot movement and playing with a straighter bat,[44] while also facing difficulty against the seaming ball.[45] He was not a part of the squad for the ODI series that followed and upon receiving permission from the BCCI, signed for Derbyshire to play in their last three games of the season.[46] After a poor first game, he finished the stint scoring 212 runs, that included an unbeaten 90 in the win over Surrey[47] and an unbeaten century against Leicestershire.[48]

He returned to form during the three-match test series against Sri Lanka in August 2015. He scored 145 not out in the third test against them.[49] He also played in 2014 Border Gavaskar Trophy. In the first match at Adelaide Oval he made 73 runs in the first inning before being bowled by a Nathan Lyon delivery.[50]

Return to form[edit]

Pujara continued to work on his game however he remained in the reckoning for a national comeback. He made the most of an injury setback to Murali Vijay in the 2015 series in Sri Lanka, reminding the selectors of his mettle by carrying his bat through his epic unbeaten 145 on an uncharacteristically seaming wicket at the SSC, Colombo, paving the way for an Indian win in the decider. Pujara has raised the bar even further since then, hammering routine hundreds during India's long home season and the odd series in Sri Lanka and the West Indies. In the first Test of Australia's 2016–17 tour of India in Pune, Pujara was dismissed for 6 and 31 in the two innings, with India losing the match cheaply. He played a key role in India's second inning of second Test scoring a crucial 92 in Bangalore, and helped the team win the game.[51] In the third Test, played in Ranchi, Pujara scored 202, his third double-hundred, off 525 balls, in the first innings. In terms of balls faced, it was the longest inning by an Indian batsman.[52] The 11-hour knock included a 199-run partnership with Wriddhiman Saha for the seventh wicket. Following a fightback by Australia in the second innings, the match ended in a draw and Pujara was named man of the match.[53] With the knock, Pujara became the first Indian to score 2,000 runs in an Indian single first-class cricket season.[54] In the ICC Batsman Rankings announced following the game, Pujara was ranked a career-best second.[55] He finished the season with 1,316 runs in Tests, the second most in a single season after Australia's Ricky Ponting (1,483).[56] He also broke the record for the most runs scored in a first-class season by an Indian.[57] At the end of the season, he was placed fourth in the Batsman Rankings for Tests.[58]

In May, ahead of the first Test of the 2017 season, he signed for Nottinghamshire on a four-match contract as a replacement to James Pattinson, to play in Division Two of the County season.[59] He scored a hundred in his first game, against Gloucestershire, scoring 112 and adding 185 runs for the fourth wicket.[60] The stint ended with 233 runs in a total of five innings.[61] Carrying the good form, he scored his 12th Test century in the first Test of the tour of Sri Lanka at Galle in July. Striking a partnership with Shikhar Dhawan who made 190, Pujara scored 153 off 265 balls,[62] helping India record its biggest away Test win.[63] He scored another hundred in the second match, his 50th Test, a first innings knock of 133. On course of the innings, he went past 4,000 runs, becoming the second fastest Indian to get there in terms of number of innings batted.[64]

Pujara was dropped from the team for the First Test of the 2018 England tour.[65] Recalled to the side, he found form and made 72 in the second innings of the Third Test at Trent Bridge.[66] The innings, and guided by Virat Kohli's 97 and 103, helped his team secure a 203-run victory, after successive defeats at Lord's and Birmingham.[67] In the Fourth Test at Southampton, Pujara scored his 15th Test century, and only his second outside Asia since 2013. He made an unbeaten 132 off 257 deliveries, while adding 78 runs for the final two wickets, helping his team gain a 27-run lead over England's first innings total.[68] However, India went on to lose the game and the next, finishing 1–4 in the series.[69] He finished the series scoring 278 runs at 39.71.[70] When the West Indies toured India later that year, he made a total of 96 runs at 48.00 in two innings.[71]

I have never seen a batsman watch the ball as closely as he (Pujara) does, and that includes Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. His concentration was a challenge. And we have to keep getting better just like him, all our batsmen and bowlers

– Former Australian opener and current coach Justin Langer, January 2019[72]

Pujara carried his good form to Australia later that season and scored his maiden century in the country on the opening day of the First Test at Adelaide, becoming only the seventh Indian to do so on the first day of a Test series outside Asia.[73] Rescuing his team from 41/4, he made 123 in a six-hour long innings, before being run out for the fourth time in 2018, equaling Bill Lawry of Australia's 54-year-old record for most times dismissed in that manner in a year.[74] En route to his century, Pujara reached 5,000 runs in Tests, becoming the fifth fastest Indian to reach the milestone in terms of innings batted (108).[73] He followed it up with a 71 in the second innings and helped India win the Test, their first in the country in ten years.[75] Pujara was named man of the match.[76] In the Third Test in Melbourne, he scored a 319-ball 106 while adding 170 runs for the third wicket with Kohli in the first innings.[77] India went to win the game and secured an unassailable 2–1 lead in the series.[78] He followed it up with a third century of the series in the final Test at Sydney, making 193 in the first innings off 373 balls, in another man-of-the-match winning performance. The match ended in a draw and the series at 2–1 in his team's favour meant it was their first Test series win on Australian soil.[79] Pujara finished the series making 521 runs, the highest for either sides, from a total of 1,258 deliveries faced, a record for an India player there, and at an average of 74.42. He was named player of the series.[80]

His next big series was the tour against Australia in December 2020 in which he scored 271 runs in 4 matches at an average of 33.87. As he played at a strike-rate of 29.20, his intent was under heavy scrutiny. [81] On 19 January 2021, during the fourth Test match against Australia on The Gabba, Pujara scored his slowest Test half century ever. He reached his half century on the 196th ball that he faced, and passed his old record of a 174 ball half century against Australia in 2020.[82]

Records[edit]

  • Pujara passed 2,000 runs in a year. He scored 2,043 runs at 102.15 in first-class matches in 2013. Only Chris Rogers with 2,391 runs at 48.79 from 28 matches made more in 2013.[citation needed]
  • His 222-run partnership with Virat Kohli is India's joint-highest in South Africa and their highest in the second innings of a Test in South Africa.[83][84]
  • Second fastest 1,000 test runs by Indian player.[85]
  • Highest second innings score of 153 by any Indian batsmen in South Africa.[86]
  • Most balls faced by an Indian in a Test innings: 525.[87]
  • Pujara climbed to a career-best number 2 spot in the rankings for Test batsmen after his double century against Australia in March 2017.[88]
  • He is the third batsman for India, and ninth overall, to bat on all five days of a Test.[89]
  • He is the sixth Indian cricketer to score a century in a Tour outside Asia on the first day.[90]
  • He is the eleventh Indian cricketer to reach 6000 Test Runs.[91]

International Centuries[edit]

Key[edit]

  • ‡ – Captain of India in that match

Test Centuries[edit]

No. Score Against Pos. Inn. Test Venue H/A/N Date Result Ref
1 159  New Zealand 3 1 1/2 India Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad Home 23 August 2012 Won [92]
2 206* dagger  England 3 1 1/4 India Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad Home 15 November 2012 Won [93]
3 135  England 3 1 2/4 India Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai Home 23 November 2012 Lost [94]
4 204 dagger  Australia 3 2 2/4 India Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad Home 2 March 2013 Won [95]
5 113  West Indies 3 2 1/2 India Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai Home 14 November 2013 Won [96]
6 153  South Africa 3 3 1/2 South Africa Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg Away 18 December 2013 Draw [97]
7 145* dagger  Sri Lanka 2 1 3/3 Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo Away 28 August 2015 Won [98]
8 101*  New Zealand 3 3 3/3 India Holkar Stadium, Indore Home 8 October 2016 Won [99]
9 124  England 3 2 1/5 India Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot Home 9 November 2016 Draw [100]
10 119  England 3 1 2/5 India Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam Home 17 November 2016 Won [101]
11 202 dagger  Australia 3 2 3/4 India JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi Home 16 March 2017 Draw [102]
12 153  Sri Lanka 3 1 1/3 Sri Lanka Galle International Stadium, Galle Away 26 July 2017 Won [103]
13 133  Sri Lanka 3 1 2/3 Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo Away 3 August 2017 Won [104]
14 143  Sri Lanka 3 2 2/3 India Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur Home 24 November 2017 Won [105]
15 132*  England 3 2 4/5 England Rose Bowl, Southampton Away 30 August 2018 Lost [106]
16 123 dagger  Australia 3 1 1/4 Australia Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Away 6 December 2018 Won [107]
17 106  Australia 3 1 3/4 Australia Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Away 26 December 2018 Won [108]
18 193 dagger  Australia 3 1 4/4 Australia Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney Away 3 January 2019 Draw [109]

Personal life[edit]

Pujara is the son of Arvind Pujara and the nephew of Bipin Pujara, both of whom played for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy.

When he was 17, his mother died due to cancer. He married Puja Pabari in Rajkot on 13 February 2013. On 23 February 2018, the couple became parents of a baby girl named Aditi.

In February 2014, he was appointed as the 'brand ambassador' for the state of Gujarat by the Election Commission.[110]

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