Rajkot: Cheteshwar Pujara is the most accomplished batsman after Rahul Dravid and he should have been in India’s One-day International squad as well. And Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the best India captain since Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. These are the views of former hard-hitting Test batsman Salim Aziz Durani, who doesn’t mince words while giving his heart-felt opinion on current players.
While recalling a decade old incident when he “recommended” Ravindra Jadeja for a camp at Mumbai’s Cricket Club of India (CCI), Durani said that Pujara was his favourite batsman among the current lot.
“Pujara is such a good batsman that he deserves to be in both the Test and ODI teams. If I were the selector, I would have picked him in both teams. He is very good. After Rahul Dravid, I have not seen a batsman as good as Pujara,” the 78-year-old Durani — here to watch the India-Australia T20 International on Thursday — told MAIL TODAY.
“I have nothing to do with Pujara, but since he is so good it’s my duty to say what I feel about him.”
Pujara, who is a connoisseur’s delight as he bats in the copy book style, has just played two ODIs, despite showing that he could alter his game to suit the limited-overs format. He played both ODIs in Zimbabwe in August when a few players were rested.
Durani also lauded Dhoni’s style of captaincy and termed him a leader of players. “The Indian team is such a balanced one at the moment. It has good batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma etc. And the team has an astute captain in Dhoni. I have not seen a better captain since Pataudi,” he outlined.
“Dhoni is very patient, has matured a lot, and is a thorough gentleman. The way he handles the team is so good that at times he saves it from imminent defeat. Pataudi was a great captain and a great personality, but Dhoni is also very good. He is a leader and a thinking captain. And I am saying this straight from my heart,” he said.
Durani, who was known to hit sixes on demand, disclosed that long ago he had spotted the talent in Jadeja. “Ravindra has matured a lot. He bats and bowls well now, and he got the recognition from the ICC recently — when he topped the ICC bowlers’ rankings in ODIs. And he is a world class fielder,” he said about the player who, like him, belongs to Jamnagar, an hour’s drive from here.
“About 10 years ago, I had asked Raj [Singh Dungarpur] bhai for a camp that was conducted by former Test captain Nari Contrator and renowned coach Vasu Paranjape at the CCI. Raj bhai invited him to the camp and bore all the expenses of his stay there for about a month, the duration of the camp,” he said. “But I don’t want to take credit for his progress. I have had my innings, and I simply get happiness to see if someone plays like me.”
Durani pointed out that coach Mahendra Singh Chauhan deserves credit for shaping Jadeja’s game.
“He helped Ravindra a lot. He is a very good coach. Chauhan has had a role in the progress of the other boys who have come up from Jamnagar. Chauhan himself was a good batsman,” he said.
Left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat, who is in the current T20 squad, has also impressed Durani. “He’s a very promising pacer. I had said earlier too that he has got a good command over his bowling. If he gets some purchase from the Rajkot pitch he can do wonders tomorrow (Thursday). I am happy that he has got a chance in the Indian team,” he said.
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.
Pujara is as good as Dravid, feels Durani
“Pujara is such a good batsman that he deserves to be in both the Test and ODI teams."By Qaiser Mohammed Ali | Mail Today – Thu 10 Oct, 2013 11:05 AM IST
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