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."

The new Rahul Dravid?



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.


ALSO READ:

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »