Cheteshwar Pujara announced his return to form with a magnificent century during the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2023-24.
Pujara’s innings, characterised by classical strokes and unwavering concentration, have reignited conversations about his potential return to the Indian Test squad.
The momentous innings unfolded in the clash between Jharkhand and Saurashtra at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
Pujara’s innings not only steered Saurashtra into a commanding position but also served as a reminder of his unmatched prowess in the game’s longer format.
Cheteshwar Pujara has been absent from the national team since India’s loss in the World Test Championship final against Australia in 2023.
His omission was a result of a period of subdued form, prompting selectors to explore alternative options.
However, the seasoned batsman has seized the opportunity provided by the Ranji Trophy to make a compelling case for his return.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s much-needed hundred
Facing the bowling talents of Shahbaz Nadeem and Anukul Roy, Pujara constructed meticulous innings during the second day’s play.
His century was not just a collection of runs; it was a testament to his ability to anchor an innings and weather-challenging conditions.
Partnering with Arpit Vasavada, Pujara orchestrated a crucial 146-run partnership that laid the foundation for Saurashtra’s dominance in the match.
Reasons for Test Squad Consideration:
Pujara’s century is more than just a statistical milestone; it represents a redemption of form.
After a relative struggle, his return to scoring big runs in a challenging domestic competition speaks volumes about his determination and technical proficiency.
Experience and Stability:
With a wealth of experience in the longest format of the game, Pujara provides stability to the batting lineup.
His ability to soak up pressure, tire out bowlers, and anchor the innings makes him a valuable asset, especially in overseas conditions.
Test Cricket Specialist:
Pujara’s game is tailor-made for Test cricket. Known for his patience, technique, and ability to grind out tough situations, he brings a specialised skill set crucial for the demands of the five-day format.
Leadership and Mentorship:
Beyond his batting prowess, Pujara’s inclusion can provide leadership and mentorship to the younger players in the squad.
His experience in international cricket, particularly in Test matches, can be instrumental in guiding the team.