Home » Cricket Home » News » Happy Birthday Cheteshwar Pujara - The New Wall Of India Stands Out In a Generation of Instant Gratification & T20 Cricket

Happy Birthday Cheteshwar Pujara - The New Wall Of India Stands Out In a Generation of Instant Gratification & T20 Cricket

Cheteshwar Pujara is often not given the same due and respect as some of the other great Test batsmen both contemporary and from the past. He is not a genius like Virat Kohli or Steven Smith nor as classy as Kane Williamson or Joe Root. He is also not classical and beautiful in defence like Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid. But yet he is damn good and effective and amongst the best Test batsman not only in India's Test cricket history but also of all-time.

Happy Birthday Cheteshwar Pujara - The New Wall Of India Stands Out In a Generation of Instant Gratification & T20 Cricket

Cheteshwar Pujara is often not given the same due and respect as some of the other great Test batsmen both contemporary and from the past. He is not a genius like Virat Kohli or Steven Smith nor as classy as Kane Williamson or Joe Root. He is also not classical and stylish in defense like Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid. But yet he is damn good and effective and amongst the best Test batsman not only in India's Test cricket history but also of all-time.

ALSO READ - Mohammed Siraj Can Play 100 Tests, Hanuma Vihari is Cheteshwar Pujara's Apprentice: R Sridhar

In a generation longing and thriving on instant gratification and grown up admiring the IPL and T20 cricket, he is almost like a mis-fit who ironically fits beautifully and plays his role to perfection producing the goods when most others fail in trying and difficult circumstances. He has given ample evidence of this throughout his career and more recently in India's historical Test series win in Australia in 2020-21 where more than his runs the number of deliveries he faced stood out taking one hit after the other against the best bowling attack in the world playing out time and overs for his country.

As he turns 33 we look at some numbers that standout from his glorious Test career.

1. The Second-Highest Batting Average at Home For India

Cheteshwar Pujara has a batting average of 59.84 in India. It is the second-highest (min. 1500 runs) average at home for an Indian batsman only after Virat Kohli. Think of the greats to have played for India and their feats at home - the likes of Tendulkar, Gavaskar, Dravid, Azharuddin, Laxman, Sehwag to name a few. Pujara has shown a bigger appetite for scoring runs in India than all of them. This is a phenomenal statistic when seen in perspective.

2. The Fifth-Highest Number of Deliveries Per Innings Batted in History of Test Cricket

Rahul Dravid, India's original 'Wall' at number 3 played out a record 31258 balls in his Test career - the maximum in the history. Pujara has faced 13572 deliveries in 136 Test innings. Amongst the 50 batsmen who have faced the maximum number of balls in Test cricket history, Pujara is ranked at number 5 in terms of deliveries faced per innings. On an average, he has faced 99.79 balls per innings batted in his career. Only Geoff Boycott, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and Allan Border have consumed more deliveries (according to data available) per innings batted than Pujara in Test cricket history.

This highlights a great quality in Pujara - the quality of attaching a price to his wicket. In this day and age of franchise T20 cricket, Pujara is an oddity who has been true to himself and stood out. It showcases his ability to occupy the crease and spend hours and hours playing out time and overs - this requires the technical skill, mental toughness, patience and an excellent temperament - Pujara has ample of all of these ingrained in his DNA.

A prime example of Pujara's resilience was witnessed in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy in which he faced a total of 928 deliveries in the series. He holds the record for the highest number of deliveries faced by a visiting batsman in Australia (in a series with maximum 4 matches) - Pujara faced 1258 deliveries in his epic performance in India's first series win in Australia in 2018-19.

3. Number of Series-Defining Performances

Pujara has produced a number of Series-Defining Performances (SDs) in his Test career. An SD is a high impact performance in a match which dictates the result of a series either helping the respective team to a win or helping them draw level from behind. This is a special quality in a player which showcases his ability to raise his game in the big matches - in the matches that decide the outcome of a series.

Vs Sri Lanka in Colombo (SSC) in 2015: The series was tied at 1-1. Pujara, opening the innings, scored a magnificent unbeaten 145 of 289 deliveries scoring almost half of India's total of 312. Wickets kept tumbling at the other end with the second-highest score of the innings by number 9 Amit Mishra (59). This performance defined Pujara and his ability to score tough runs for India under pressure of wickets falling around him. India went on to win the Test by 117 runs.

4. Proportion of Team Runs & Consistency

One of the main reasons for Pujara's high impact is his ability to score a very high proportion of his team's runs in adverse conditions, situations and circumstances. He has the knack of producing his best when the chips are down, when other big guns have failed around him, in tough alien conditions and against good bowling attacks. Pujara has scored a little over 14% of his team's runs during his Test career.

Pujara has also been a very consistent performer for India. His low risk game and excellent defence and temperament mean that his Failure Rate (percentage of innings dismissed below 20) is just 38.23%. Just for perspective, Kohli has a Failure Rate of 40.14%.

5. Great Record in Australia

Pujara has an aggregate of 993 runs in 11 Tests (21 innings) at an average of 47.28 in Australia. All his three hundreds Down Under came in the victorious 2018-19 series in which he scored 521 runs in 4 Tests (7 innings) at an average of 74.42. It was one of the best performances by a visiting batsman from Asia in Australia helping India record a historical first series win in the country. No other Asian country has achieved the feat.

ALSO READ - Ravindra Jadeja Had Taken Injections, Was Ready to Slog it Out on Final day in Sydney

Pujara did not score as many runs in 2020-21 in Australia but played his role with the bat consuming deliveries and playing out time in both the match-saving effort at the SCG and the match and series winning one at The Gabba. He took the blows and blunt the Australian pace attack and was at his defiant best at one end which allowed the likes of Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant to play their natural game at the other in the great chase in Brisbane.

It is this solidity and assurance that Pujara gives batting at number 3 that defines his contribution and performances for India.



Team Rankings

RankTeamPointsRating
1 Australia 3028 116
2 New Zealand 2406 115
3 India 3085 114
4 England 4326 106
5 Sri Lanka 2454 91
FULL Ranking
RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 5405 123
2 India 6102 117
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 4344 111
5 South Africa 3345 108
FULL Ranking
RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 6877 275
2 Australia 6800 272
3 India 10186 268
4 Pakistan 7516 259
5 South Africa 5047 252
FULL Ranking