Sachin Tendulkar has called Cheteshwar Pujara a "silent warrior" for the quiet manner in which he goes about his business of grafting long innings in a team full of stroke-makers.
During the fourth and final Test against Australia in Dharamsala, Pujara created a new record by scoring the most runs in a Test season, breaking the record mark set by Gautam Gambhir eight years ago.
Sachin TendulkarPujara has been a silent warrior, terrific temperament, and somebody again who (is) dedicated, disciplined and focused. I have seen him from close quarters and I was impressed with what I saw, I knew that this guy is there for long time.
Pujara's knock of 202 in the Ranchi Test against Australia turned out to be the longest innings by an Indian in the five-day format. Before that, a 92 in the second innings of the second Test in Bengaluru played a key role in India's win.
Tendulkar heaped praise on fast bowler Umesh Yadav for showing up through a long home season.
The way guys have shown discipline and commitment, 13 Test matches in a row, I don’t remember anything like that happening during our periods.
“Someone like Umesh (Yadav) have played 12 of them, so for a fast bowler it is really taxing, that shows that you are going to work on your body,” he said.
Umesh is a kind of a bowler who keeps getting better with time, the more he bowls the better he gets. And you could see that, the last innings of the season that he bowled was possibly the best spell. I think somebody who bowls good reverse swing will always be effective in India. (The) surfaces, texture, there is reverse swing and it happened in Dharamshala as well. Umesh bowled a couple of damn good reverse swingers.
Tendulkar also spoke highly of India's lower-order batsmen for capturing the "critical moments," which he felt played an important part in the team's successful home season.
Sachin TendulkarThe season has been tremendous for our team. There have been challenging moments when I felt our number 7, 8, 9 contributed big time. Those were critical moments where the Test match could have gone either way, but you have taken away the match (from opposition).
“When any team which has that kind of strength when bowlers can go out and score those critical runs for you, a keeper can score hundred for you, you become a solid side. So, obviously, first six batters and 7,8,9 can also contribute,” he said.
Wriddhiman Saha contributed handsomely, scoring three centuries during the season, and Tendulkar described the wicketkeeper's feat as "incredible".
These guys have really played well at crunch moments, which can decide the Test match and sometimes a series. I felt that was the difference and you can see it. When both teams are going neck to neck and then suddenly one team starts pulling away, you can see the difference and that’s what has happened.
India swept aside New Zealand 3-0, then hammered England 4-0 in a five-match rubber, won the lone Test against Bangladesh and then notched up a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Australia.
When we have a full strength side, it’s a good problem to have. And that means your bench strength is also very strong and that is how champion teams are made. Everyone is watching us, the way we have played and to maintain and stay at this level is something that I am sure everyone is wanting to do and the rest of us are looking forward to (it).
“I have got lot of faith and confidence in our team,” he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)
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