What’s the story?
The most remarkable thing about India’s incredible home season was the fact that it was a complete team performance. Everyone who was in the squad at various points did their bit to help the team win 10 of the 13 matches that they played.
Extra cover: India finish the season as number one ranked team
Virat Kohli took to Instagram to single out Cheteshwar Pujara for extra praise given his immense contribution to the team. He said, “Everyone has contributed this season but I am particularly happy and delighted to see the grit and determination of this guy. What a champion. Least-mentioned but most effective. Well done puji @cheteshwar_pujara for an outstanding season brother. Wish you many more years of stupendous performances for the team. Keep going”
Even though Kohli scored 4 double hundreds, Pujara ended up with more runs in the same span of time. His importance grew with each game and by the end of the season, his wicket was the most crucial for oppositions.
Coming in to bat at number 3, he managed 50+ scores in 12 of the 23 innings he played.
It wasn’t so long ago that Pujara’s place in the squad was being questioned. Due to his style of occupying time in the crease, being an immovable object in the face of the opponents, he has never been a very popular cricketer, nor does he earn the plaudits he deserves.
When he was going through a bit of a crisis, he was dropped from the squad for the final Test during the tour of the Caribbean. Instead of crumbling under pressure, he took it upon himself to prove why he is needed in the team with stellar performances in the Duleep Trophy ahead of the start of India’s home season.
Even when he performed well for the team, he was criticised for being too slow. It was this same approach that deflated the spirit of the Aussies in the third Test at Ranchi when he faced an incredible 525 balls to score 202.
Pujara’s numbers in 2016-17
|Matches||Innings||Runs||Average||Strike-rate||100s, 50s||High score|
Virat Kohli has gone the extra mile to show his appreciation for one of the most important members of the squad. While the Indian skipper has attracted a lot of bad publicity recently, he has started setting things right with this post. The media will not focus on Pujara’s heroics, he will not be put on billboards, but none of that matters as much as appreciation from your skipper. A top move from Kohli.