Ravi Ashwin might have pipped the man of the series honours but it was the man that guided India to a whitewash that has been the stand out player for this series.
Chesterwar Pujara, finished the series with 419 runs at average of 83.30. More than stats it was the mannerism and timing of his innings that ensured the future of Indian cricket is bright.
Pujara credited his success to playing countless domestic matches “Ever since my debut for Saurasthra I have played on so many turning tracks I feel comfortable and I know which shot to execute. I feel all the hard work I have done on my game in the domestic schedule has played a huge role in my batting form in this series”.
The Indian number 3 also dismissed comparisons between himself and Rahul Dravid. “He has proved himself across the world I am still a long way away”. When asked about opening the batting the man from Rajkot said “I’ve opened through junior cricket and even the times in ODI domestic cricket, so I don’t view it any different to batting at number 3”.
Pujara hails from cricketing background and it is the knowledge passed on through the generations that he credits for where he is today. “My Grandfather played high level of cricket and he motivated my father to play the game. I recall their conversations when I was young and it’s perhaps how I became fascinated about the game so early in my life”.
Senior Pujara ended playing Ranji trophy for Saurasthra but could never don an Indian cap but he has and still remains son Cheteshwar’s primary coach. “My father still coaches me now and I spoke to him couple of times during the series about certain aspects of my batting”.
It was only when Pujara realised the effort required to bowl that he decided to give his hand at batting. “Yes, I started as a leg spinner but from 10-11yrs of age, I thought batting is so much easier and I wanted to be a batsmen”
On playing against Australia, Pujara said he had prepared with countless hours at the nets facing the reverse swing before the series. But once the series got under away he had stayed away from the nets. “I knew I have prepared well and when you bat in the middle for so long, you don’t have time to bat in the nets [laughs].
Pujara has definitely filled the position vacated by Dravid in the home season in India. Over the next year he will face the challenges in South Africa and New Zealand, given his hunger and the class he has displayed against Australia only success awaits.