The Saurashtra lad sent the Englishmen scurrying for cover with his fine, maiden double century at Motera yesterday.
While comparisons between Pujara and the great Bangalorean are inevitable, Pujara’s domestic cricket coach Debu Mitra is keen to see his ward doing better than Dravid, who scored 10,000-plus runs in both forms of the game. “This is just the beginning for Cheteshwar. There’s a long way to go. I wish that he scores many more runs in his career and show everyone that he is better than Rahul Dravid,” Mitra, Saurashtra’s coach, told MiD DAY yesterday.
Pujara, who was two runs away from his 100 at the end of Day One on Thursday, slammed an unbeaten 206 off 389 balls in a knock that included 21 fours. The 24-year-old impressed the purists with his wristy flicks and firm drives during his captivating 513-minute knock. Pujara has already notched up two tons and a half-century in his six-Test career. Though Mitra said yesterday’s double century was Pujara’s best innings, the coach refrained from making any comparisons with Dravid.
“I don’t understand why he is always compared to Dravid. Dravid is Dravid. Would it be right to compare Sunil Gavaskar with Sachin Tendulkar? Cheteshwar is playing only his sixth Test match. He still has a lot to prove in international cricket,” said Mitra, who has seen Pujara right from his under-19 days.
While several wondered why Pujara wasn’t blooded before the 2010-11 home series against Australia, Mitra reckoned his ward got a break at the right time. “What’s the point in just travelling with the team and being on the bench? He has been included in the team at the right time. If you are good, nobody can stop you. One of Cheteshwar’s biggest qualities is his patience which also reflects a lot on his batting,” said Mitra.