The Indian expatriates in England have more to cheer about this summer, especially at Trent Bridge. England are set to witness a larger crowd in County Championship 2017 as Cheteshwar Pujara has signed up for Nottinghamshire. James Pattinson received a national call-up for Australia in Champions Trophy 2017; and the Notts have responded with the signing of Pujara. Pujara will arrive in mid-May and will be available for the County Championship fixtures against Gloucestershire, Glamorgan and Derbyshire. Pujara is a vital cog of the Indian Test side, averaging over 51 from 48 Tests. In First-Class cricket, Pujara averages over 58 with 38 hundreds to his name.
“We have looked around the world to find the right player. The most important thing was to sign someone with the quality to make us better, rather than limiting our options by saying it had to be a bowler,” Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket was quoted by Trentbridge.co.uk. ALSO READ: Pujara jumps to 2nd in ICC rankings for batsmen
Clarifying why Pattinson’s replacement was not like-for-like, Newell added: “We have depth in our squad with regards bowling and — particularly as we’ll be without Alex Hales during that period — we’re more than happy to welcome a world-class batsman to the club.”
Pujara, who made his Test debut against the visiting Australians in 2010, has earlier played for Derbyshire and Yorkshire, with his last stint being in 2015 for the latter. His brief stints with red ball in county cricket had yielded 483 runs at 54. Pujara expressed his joy through a tweet:
— cheteshwar pujara (@cheteshwar1) May 4, 2017
The official website of the county quotes Pujara saying, “I’m ready for it. I am already working on my skills and preparing for competitive cricket. I love playing county cricket and Trent Bridge is a great venue. I am really looking forward to my first experience there as a home player.”
Pujara had a dream run in 2016-17 and was instrumental in India’s success in Test cricket. He scored 1,316 runs from 13 Tests at 62.66, slamming 4 hundreds. He also surpassed Chandu Borde’s feat and now holds the most runs in First-Class cricket for an Indian. Despite his success with the red ball, Pujara did not fetch any bid in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions.
Being dubbed as a Test specialist, Pujara in all probability will not make it to India’s Champions Trophy squad. Pujara’s signing for Notts is a win-win situation for both parties.