Former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly comes to support Indian Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara. Ganguly mentioned the Indian right-handed batsman as good as Virat Kohli, but also claimed that Pujara goes unnoticed.
During the launch of his autobiography “A Century Is Not Enough” in Kolkata, Sourav Ganguly claimed, “Pujara is from the old school of cricketers who will keep working hard and deliver. Look at his Test records, after 57 matches, he’s got 14 hundreds. He just goes unnoticed.”
Cheteshwar Pujara, who has scored 4,496 runs in his 96 Test innings (average 50.51), was also present in that launch.
Ganguly added more about Pujara, “Along with Virat Kohli in this team, his record is as good as anybody. He’s from that school of cricket where he will grind you, grind you and win you matches.”
Ganguly also mentioned him as the best number three batsman for present Indian cricket. He claimed, “The best team had the best number three. When India played at its best, the best number three was Dravid. When India played at its best away, it’s Pujara at number three. They actually take the shine off the new ball, allow the stroke makers to make batting easier. He is as important to this Test team as Virat Kohli. But sometimes he goes unnoticed.”
Meanwhile, Pujara said that he still prefers to play in old-school fashion. He told, “I still prefer to play in old-school fashion. (I like to) spend a lot of time at the crease, read the situation and start scoring runs. Once you assess the conditions, know what the bowlers are tring to do, you are in a different zone. I don’t need to worry about playing shots, it comes naturally.”
30-years old Pujara has played only 5 ODIs. Pujara also revealed that he practised reverse sweeps for T20 cricket. Talking about that, the right-handed batsman quoted, “Obviously not for Tests, but when I practised for T20 matches, I practised reverse sweeps. If you need to get better at something, you need to start playing the shots.”
However, Pujara has not made his T20I debut yet for India.
Pujara also added, “To get myself better in ODIs and T20s I also started playing lofted shots. Before five-six years, I never used to play any lofted shots. I try to get my technique stronger rather than working on my shots.”
During that event, Ganguly shared a memory of the famous 2001 Eden Gardens Test between India and Australia. After winning the toss, Australia decided to bat first and put 445 runs on the board in the first innings.
In reply, India was bowled out for just 171 runs in the first innings and was forced to follow-on where Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman provided the heroic 376-runs partnership for the fifth wicket. India managed to score 657/7 (decl.) in their second innings and put 384-runs target for the visitors.
Also watch: The inside of Sourav Ganguly’s lavish bungalow
Australia was bundled out for 212 runs as India won 171 runs and made a superb comeback in that series.
Talking about that Test, Ganguly said, “We wasn’t certain to win it (the test). We were certain to lose it had to take 10 wickets still. I had asked John Wright (then coach) when should we declare. He said wait wait…the Australian side were that good, they could make 350 runs in one day.
“Then I got a chit from my father, he said ‘what’s going on?’ Everybody screaming on top of head, why don’t you declare? I thought where is he, but he was right up there in the box. After that, it was a Harbhajan Singh show.”
Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh took six wickets in the second innings. Earlier in that Test, he also took seven wickets in the first innings including a brilliant hat-trick.
Talking about the leading a team, Ganguly quoted, “All were capable of leading the team. I had such good players in the team. I can bet you from inside everyone is nervous even MS Dhoni. You don’t show it.”
37-years old Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh credited Sourav Ganguly for his cricketing career. He said, “I was thrown out of the (National Cricket Academy) NCA for being naughty. If dada was not there, I would not be sitting here.”