New Delhi: Cheteshwar Pujara’s magnificent double century against England in the first Test in Ahmedabad is just a sign of things to come, according to Debu Mitra, his state coach.
Pujara’s unbeaten knock of 206 evoked comparisons with Rahul Dravid, but the 64-year-old Saurashtra coach feels that it’s still a long way before the talented Pujara can reach the level ‘The Wall’ of Indian cricket.
“Rahul is a legend and people should stop comparing Pujara with him on the basis of a few big knocks,” Mitra told Mail Today from Chandigarh, where he is travelling for the Ranji match against Punjab.
Pujara delighted with performance
“Pujara is a very talented cricketer and a thorough gentleman but there is still a long way to go. But he is very focussed and I know he won’t get distracted by this sudden fame.” On what makes the 24-year-old batsman different from the rest of his wards, Mitra said Pujara’s dedication and mental toughness is very high and he constantly thinks about improving his game.
“He thinks about his game all the time. He is very dedicated and also very obedient. I have not coached him from his childhood days but his commitment to the game has always stood out,” said Mitra, under whom Saurashtra have done exceedingly well in the last few years.
Mitra added that Pujara is a very obedient student. “He used to listen very keenly whatever modifications or changes I used to suggest. His patience is also one of his strengths and a crucial factor in his scoring big runs,” he said.
Mitra also exuded confidence that Pujara would flourish in other formats of the game as well.
“Technique is of paramount importance in cricket. A batsman who is technically equipped can make it big in all formats of the game,” he said.
“I believe Cheteshwar’s felicity along with his technique allows him to adapt it to the 50-over game as well as Twenty 20.” Mitra, who had also coached Sourav Ganguly in his formative years, says that Pujara has been gritty enough to grab the opportunity with both hands and ensured that with big knocks against England his place in the Indian team is cemented.
“There is a lot of competition for a single spot in the Indian team. There are many players like Manoj (Tiwary), Ajinkya (Rahane), Murali (Vijay) waiting in the wings. It is important to utilise whatever little opportunity one gets,” he said.
“If Pujara would have failed with the bat, people wouldn’t have bothered to talk so much about him.”