When the world ends, will Che Pujara still be batting?

A batsman this stubborn should be a Test mainstay, not a discard.

 |  5-minute read |   30-08-2015
  • ---
    Total Shares

Che Pujara batted

And Che Pujara batted some more

And if that wasn't enough

Che Pujara batted some more still

Batted, batted, batted

For that's what Che Pujara does best.

 

He opened, he closed

He was a shopkeeper who was there

To put the Open sign

He was a shopkeeper who was there

To put the Closed sign

 

He batted on the first day,

Two fell before him

Rahul and Rahane

He batted

He batted with Virat

He batted till the rains came down

He batted till the covers came on

 

He batted on the second day

Mathews teased Virat outside off

Prasad teased Rohit outside off

He batted till lunch

Binny fell after lunch

He batted after lunch

He batted with Ojha

Ojha holed out

Prasad teased Ashwin outside off

Mishra came in

He batted till tea

 

He batted after tea

He batted to a 100

He batted to Mishra's 50

Mishra wandered off

He did not wander off

He batted till the rains came down

He batted till the covers came on

 

Che Pujara batted

And Che Pujara batted some more

And if that wasn't enough

Che Pujara batted some more still

Batted, batted, batted

For that's what Che Pujara does best.

 

He batted till stumps Day 2

After Gavaskar, Dravid and Sehwag batted

Che Pujara batted

He batted right through the innings

He batted right before the innings

He batted ten minutes before the innings

In the nets

 

Che Pujara was always there

Just that India wasn't there for him

He batted on bad days

He batted through form drops

He batted minutes adding to minutes

To make batting hours

Scrapping in foreign lands

Winning us Lord's

To be dropped at Sydney

To be left out in Bangladesh

To be left out in Galle

To be left out in Colombo

 

To be left out for a lesser player

To be left out by lesser men

To be left out by talkers of aggression

Will you drop yourselves too?

When the bad patch comes calling again?

When Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped for Rohit Sharma, for the Sydney Test (Jan 6 - 10, 2015), I feared the worst for him, cricket obscurity. Batting at three - Pujara's position until then - Rohit scored a half century in a drawn Test. That picked Rohit for the next four Tests at least - one in Bangladesh, followed by three in Sri Lanka. However, injuries to the openers combined with Rohit's dodgy form at three tossed the batting order like it had been dumped into a Sumeet mixie.

The series locked at one-all, Shastri-Kohli's hand was forced and they hurled Pujara into the deep end, making him open the batting on a green top. If he fails, it will only vindicate their stand of leaving him out; if he comes off, they picked him, didn't they?

Ajinkya Rahane had already been tinkered with enough; pushing him from three to open was not an option, not now at least. And after Rohit's forgotten travails at three, no way they were going to make him open. So that left them with Pujara. Had one of the two openers been fit, there would not have been a Pujara comeback hundred.

When Pujara walked into open he would've been aware: he had been forgotten. No amount of runs in county cricket or for India A was going to change that. His time in the middle was mostly as 12th man or the drink's man. He was there at forward shot leg. He was only remembered by default.

In the past months and even today, Sunil Gavaskar has gone on about how slowly Pujara scores. He goes on to compare the virtues of fast scoring, that he nonchalantly attributes to Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, and yes, the other day, to KL Rahul.

Dear Sunny, since you aren't tiring of saying the same stuff again and again, I won't either. Please compare the strike rates of the batsmen and then comment. You're on air, not on hot air, sir. Do not mix the limited overs format with Test cricket. Granted, Rohit is like a son to both you and Ravi, but it does get blatantly obvious, often cringe-worthy just to listen to you.

Yes, Pujara was batting against propaganda. He was up against, not a batsman, but a reputation, a prophecy, a talent. If Sunny wasn't enough, you had the Mumbai Indians' fielding coach, Jonty Rhodes parroting the virtues of "The Talent". These people are now doing Rohit more harm than good, wanting a player to succeed is one thing, but without realising, they're now taking the piss.

When India was at 135/5, Sunny said that a Pujara 50 wasn't going to cut it for him, only a "Big Hundred" - a 150, maybe a 200.

Then again, maybe Pujara wasn't batting against any of this. Maybe his mind was clear. Maybe all he saw was the ball. Maybe when he spoke of getting starts and not converting them into bigger scores, there was an acceptance to improve. He's made changes, standing further outside the crease, for one.

It's now up to Shastri and Kohli to make changes; they could start by accepting Pujara as a mainstay of the Test team, stop all that aggression and rhetoric please. Or is this part of a new pecking order, where everyone is expendable? Where anyone can be asked to bat anywhere? That could make for interesting times too, more so, if it holds true for the captain and the director and Rohit.

But start by living in the present, guys, and not what a player can or will do.

On August 30, 2015, Pujara became the fourth Indian to carry his bat through the innings. His 145 not out was his seventh Test century. His lowest score of 100 and more is 113. His other Test centuries are: 135, 153, 159, 204, 206*.

Writer

Gaurav Sethi Gaurav Sethi @boredcricket

Bored Cricket Crazy Indians (BCCI!) - play with cricket #ThankYouSachin #ChePujara #Jatman began here.

Like DailyO Facebook page to know what's trending.