What's the story?
Indian Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara made a thumping comeback to the playing XI earlier this year. He recently revealed how the guidance from former Indian skipper, Rahul Dravid, helped him return to the team after being dropped following the 2015 Australia series.
"I would like to thank Rahul Dravid (for my comeback). I was a part of the India A squad after the Australia series and Rahul bhai was the coach at that time. I went and spoke to him about my game. He told me that there's nothing wrong with my game, there's nothing wrong my your technique," said the Saurashtra batsman in an exclusive interview with Cricbuzz.
"He watched me bat in the nets and told me to 'stay calm. Just keep working hard, keep following your usual routine and you will get your opportunity.' I trusted him. Initially it was tough for me because I didn't know when will I get my next opportunity. I did get it in Sri Lanka though and when I did, I called him to say that I understood what he meant then," he added.
Pujara also talked about how he urged himself to get over the disappointment of being dropped from the side and concentrate on how he was going to return to the playing XI.
"When I was dropped from the Indian team after the Australian series, I think it was the last Test match (of that series) when I was dropped. I was really sad. I didn't know what to do initially, but then I told myself that the best thing is to make a comeback, work hard on your game," he added.
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Pujara has been one of India's top three Test batsmen this season and has cemented his spot in the side once again.
In the home series against New Zealand, he amassed 373 runs in three Tests in just three matches. He continued performing consistently in the next series against England, where he scored two brilliant centuries along with a half-century. He scored a mighty double-century against the Australians after that.
Pujara stated that he is still in touch with Dravid and often asks him for advice on his batting technique. He also believes that the veteran's tutelage has been priceless for the youth cricketers and they're more prepared for their international debut than they were before, courtesy his guidance.
The Indian number three is currently playing in India's ongoing series against Sri Lanka, in Sri Lanka. He has already scored a big hundred in the series and has one more chance to make an impact on the same.
Most of India's up-and-coming cricketers have Dravid to thank for their surge and sustenance at the international level. He has been a tireless contributor to Indian cricket and continues to serve it even five years after his retirement.
Not only youngsters, even players like Pujara have thrived due to his mentor-ship and approachable persona. Let's hope that the cricketing legend keeps adding value to the national teams through the endless reserves of his experience and knowledge.