Tag: Cheteshwar Pujara

The India players have started faking injuries

Cheteshwar Pujara (CC licensed by Naparazzi via Flickr)

Cheteshwar Pujara (CC licensed by Naparazzi via Flickr)

Pat Farhart news!

About time. It’s been almost a decade.

Farhart is of course the physio who not-all-that-famously helped Australia spinner Beau Casson’s groin “respond”.

He hasn’t got down to any of that sort of business with India yet, but he’s working towards it. Mark our words. He’s giving neck rubs and while we have absolutely no reason to believe that Che Pujara was faking the injury that led to this, we’re going to say that he was anyway.

Speaking after the second Test, Pujara said: “I would like to thank Patrick Farhart, our physio, who made it possible for me to bat, and bat at No. 3, because there was one stage where I felt I might not be able to bat No. 3 because my neck was really sore. But he worked on it and ultimately I achieved the goal for the team.”

‘Oh Pat, Pat. I can’t possibly field today because I’m suffering from some horrendous foot ailment and also a back spasm. Lend me your magical healing hands and I will be able to go and stand at mid-on for a bit.’

Is Virat Kohli really India’s best batsman?


Were he to find himself playing in a format-spanning Super Series, it would seem highly likely that Virat Kohli could find himself named man-of-it. The guy averages over 50 in the two shorter formats with a perfectly healthy strike-rate in both.

His Test record’s very good too: 12 Test hundreds and an average of 43.76.

That’s not extraordinary though. If we’re not exactly in Aftab Habib territory, the numbers don’t quite match Kohli’s reputation – and what is cricket about if not building one’s reputation through numbers? Maybe that’s what he’s always so angry about when he’s batting.

We felt moved to check Kohli’s Test record while Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were batting together against New Zealand recently. While they’ve played fewer Test matches, both average about 47.5. The numbers don’t say much, but they tally with our feeling that these two are perhaps the team’s best batsmen in the longest format.

Captaincy combined with weight of runs across the formats gives Kohli a certain clout, but we still found it odd to hear him dissecting Pujara’s approach to Test cricket recently. There were complimentary words in amongst it all, but the general tone was a bit end-of-term school report.

It all had a kind of he’s-finally-started-listening-to-me hue.

“Pujara is someone who absorbs the pressure really well but after a certain stage in the innings there comes a time when the team needs runs. That’s where we felt that he has the ability to capitalise. It was just about conveying that to him.”

Or what about this?

“We want Pujara to bat to his potential. Once he starts scoring runs to go with the composure he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of the game.”

Kohli also said it was “a revelation” to see Pujara score quicker “because he used to bat that way initially.” The qualification criteria for revelations clearly aren’t as stringent as they once were. We suppose it’s down to modern attention spans.

Is it just us who finds this tone somewhat odd? We suppose Kohli, as captain, has responsibility for how the team performs as a whole (as a unit, if you will), but it seems to us that in Test cricket at least, Kohli arguably has as much to learn from Pujara as Pujara does from Kohli.

Flip it around. Imagine Pujara saying the following about Kohli and see how it sounds.

“Kohli is someone who always looks to score runs, but at certain stages in the innings, the team just needs him to absorb pressure. That’s where we felt that he could improve. It was just about conveying that to him.”


“We want Kohli to bat to his potential. Once he starts showing composure to go with the run-scoring ability he already has, it becomes very difficult for the opposition to have control of the game.”

Cheteshwar Pujara brings a future of runs

The Wall is gone! Long live this broad, robust replacement structure made out of bricks and mortar!

The retirement of great cricketers often leaves less of a hole than people imagine. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman recently left the game and many wondered how they could ever be replaced.

The thing is, India didn’t need to replace these cricketers when they were at their best. They needed to replace tiring men who were approaching middle age – fantastic yet fading batsmen.

If they had left at their peak, there would have been a greater impact because the next generation wouldn’t have been up and running, but India now have the likes of Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni providing solidity and so the diminishing returns of the old boys can be swapped for the growing returns of batsmen like Cheteshwar Pujara.

Nice double hundred, son

They’ll tell you otherwise, but India are spoilt for batsmen. The notion that the younger generation are ill-prepared or technically or mentally deficient is largely borne of the fact that the wrong players command the headlines. The wise write about Pujara’s understated class instead of Suresh Raina’s latest 36-ball fifty. It’s just that most people can’t find the time for wisdom.

But Pujara’s there, Ajinkya Rahane’s there and we’re sure there are others, doing mundane things regularly and reliably. These guys are suited to Test cricket, not premature, disproportionate acclaim.

Batsmen like Tendulkar, Sehwag and Kohli provide the best of both worlds and maybe this encourages public greed. But surely it’s enough for a batsman to be master of one world, slowly working his way into others? Why overlook players well-suited to Test cricket in favour of mentally or technically flawed batsmen who excel in other formats? That sort of quest for perfection is ultimately self-defeating.

Is Pujara here to stay?

Clearly India have made a good selection with Cheteshwar Pujara. It was only one innings, but it was plenty long enough for us to draw some conclusions.

In short, Pujara looks like a top order batsman who isn’t tempted to dick about and who just bloody well gets on with his job. Those are worthwhile qualities in any conditions, against any bowling attack.

Cheteshwar Pujara shows India aren’t short of batsmen

It’s both sad and joyous that life moves on. Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman are gone, never to return, but that’s because they’re now middle-aged. Their best cricket is behind them and who wants to look forward to ever-lower high points. Far better to step into the unknown.

Cheteshwar Pujara might never be as good as those pair were, but you never know and not knowing can be half the fun. Anyone who’s spurned a pre-emptive toilet visit ahead of a long journey knows the truth of that.

Based on yesterday’s performance, Pujara’s career promises to be even more entertaining than the Will-I-Won’t-I Piss Myself game. He’ll face tougher challenges than James Franklin’s astonishingly diminished pace, but a Test hundred is never to be sniffed at, if only because all those hours at the crease create a uniquely foetid aroma.

In other news, Suresh Raina was caught behind for three.

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