Cheteshwar Pujara – Should India look for a new no.3 batsman in Tests?

Pujara scored just 222 runs in 10 innings on his last tour to England in 2014.

Cheteshwar Pujara averaged just 22.20 in England in 2014, when India lost 3-1 | Getty

Cheteshwar Pujara has been one of the most vital players for India since his debut 8 years ago. Though he couldn’t translate his long format success in shorter formats, Pujara very well took over from Rahul Dravid in a wonderful manner.

Dravid who had been the wall for India at no.3 position in Tests retired in 2012 and India had already earmarked Pujara as his successor. He has had much success with team India since his Test debut, becoming the second fastest Indian to reach 1000 Test runs.

However, his current form for India has been sketchy at the best. He had brilliant series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, scoring back to back centuries. In the return series, Pujara came good with 289 runs with the best score of 143 runs. However, his success outside India, or for that fact outside Asia, has been not up to the mark he has set for himself while batting in India.

Cheteshwar Pujara is an extremely successful batsman in India, with a record that envies many others. However, his away record pales in comparison with his home record.

Player

Match

Inns

Runs

Average

Best

100s

50s

CHETESHWAR PUJARA
(AT HOME)

33

55

3086

62.97

206*

10

13

CHETESHWAR PUJARA
(AWAY)

24

41

1410

35.25

153

4

4

OVERALL

57

96

4496

50.51

206*

14

17

Cheteshwar Pujara has struggled with swinging and seaming deliveries in England and in South Africa recently | Getty

This record becomes a shadow of its former self, as Pujara steps out of the comfort of pitches in Asia. Despite being a player with impeccable technique, Pujara has had troubles with making runs on pitches outside.  

Player

Match

Inns

Runs

Average

Best

100s

50s

CHETESHWAR PUJARA (OUTSIDE ASIA)

20

35

956

27.31

153

1

4

India’s next assignment overseas is against England, where they will play 5 Tests starting from August 1. Pujara made his first trip to England in 2014 and disappointed everyone with just 222 runs in 5 Tests at an average of 22.20 and a best of just 55. He had struggled with the seaming delivery and playing off the back foot to the swing in England.

With India looking to make a good impression in England this time around, many of India’s top players have signed up for stints with county team in England. Virat Kohli will play for Surrey, while Ishant Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara have already been in England, playing for Yorkshire.

However, his latest county stint has been a dud. His county record till 14th May 2018 has been 916 runs in 19 matches and 32 innings with an average of 31.58 and best of 133*, with 3 hundreds and as many fifties.

In his last four matches for Yorkshire, Pujara has made just 100 runs in 8 innings with a best of 41 and boasts of an average of 12.50 and was a dud even in the disastrous innings, when Yorkshire was bowled out for 50 runs.

Pujara has scored just 100 runs in 8 innings for Yorkshire recently | Getty

Pujara has carried on from South Africa, where on fast and seaming pitches, he played in all 3 Tests, scoring 100 runs with a best of 50 and averaged a mere 16.66, with a penchant of getting himself run out. He has carried the same form into the county stint.

India needs Pujara to be on the top of his game when India and England clash for the supremacy in Test arena in August. However, with the looks of it, India might have to take a backup for Pujara as well, because, he has been given a long lease of life despite his poor South African form and selectors’ patience with Pujara might end, if he fails in England series at the start.

It should be Pujara’s biggest Test until now, as he has the likes of KL Rahul and Karun Nair on his heels for the no.3 spot in the Indian team and both have done much better in their respective last few matches.

Cheteshwar Pujara will be under immense pressure to perform in England and everyone hopes that he comes good, for India to succeed. Otherwise, India will have to look for another player to hold the fort at the no.3 position on upcoming tours overseas.


By Jatin Sharma - 14 May, 2018

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