Pujara's rapid-fire round before English test

He has already made it clear he was ready for the latest challenge of playing ODIs.



New Delhi: Reverse sweep. That shot doesn't figure too high in Cheteshwar Pujara's list of favourite strokes. For a batsman as conventional as he is, most of the modern day improvised shots are necessary evils, to be resorted to only when there is no other way out.

So, how does one explain the Saurashtra batsman attempting a reverse sweep while on the brink of a double hundred against Karnataka on Wednesday?

Sehwag axed from ODI squad, Pujara comes in

He didn't try it just once; he played it quite a few times as he blasted an unbeaten 275-ball 261, studded with 40 boundaries, to put Saurashtra virtually into the semifinal of the Ranji Trophy.

"He was actually practicing for the ODIs against England. He played freely, hitting strokes all around the wicket. It was a fantastic knock," said an admiring J Arunkumar, Karnataka's batting coach.

Deliberate Move
Saurashtra coach Debu Mitra was even more emphatic. "It's a conscious effort on his part to prove he could play and succeed in all formats. And it's not just about this knock alone; he smashed an unbeaten 203 off 221 balls in his last match. So, there shouldn't be any doubts about his abilities to play the shorter formats," he said.

From India's point of view too, Pujara couldn't have shown this spark at a better time.

In the just-concluded series against Pakistan, India's top-order looked absolutely clueless against pace and swing. The attacking line-up sorely missed a batsman with an impregnable defence who could have seen off the new ball and held up one end.

"Pujara is just that sort of batsman. He has the technique as well as the temperament to weather the storm if the going gets tough. He can handle the new ball, play out a maiden if need be, find the gaps to rotate the strike, and open up later on," said Mitra.

Perfect Fit
The coaches are in agreement that the Saurashtra run-machine should get the No 3 slot in this line-up. "He bats one drop and would be comfortable in that position. That will give him time to settle down and play his natural game. Besides, having a batsman like him at that spot would help the team too," said Arunkumar, a former Karnataka opener.

Ready for challenge
Pujara himself has already made it clear he was ready for the latest challenge. "I did well in one-day cricket at the domestic level, and during the India A tour to England. So I am quite confident I can play the ODI format. I have proved that at the domestic level and now it's a question of proving the same thing at the international level," he said after he was picked for the ODIs.

"He has everything you need to succeed in ODIs. He got the Test specialist tag only because he played some long and patient knocks for Saurashtra. People were skeptic about Rahul Dravid too in ODIs… we all know how he shaped up," said Arunkumar.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Kevin Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Chandimal axed as T20 captain, Malinga takes over

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

New Zealand Cricket has put forward a proposal to reinvent its domestic structure and allow up to 49% private investment into the six major associatio… More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Day of Supreme reckoning

Day of Supreme reckoning

Apex court to decide on BCCI’s proposed new committee today. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of the three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »