Former Australia skipper Michael Clarke has compared Indian Test mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara‘s batting style to that of legendary cricketer Rahul Dravid, following his exploits in the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The 39-year-old believes Cheteshwar Pujara puts a prize on his wicket and has the ability to wear down opposition bowling attacks – a quality that defined Dravid as well.
Most Test balls faced in Australia since 2018:
🇦🇺 Marnus Labuschagne ➜ 2,586
🇮🇳 CHETESHWAR PUJARA ➜ 2,177 🙌
🇦🇺 Travis Head ➜ 1,672
🇦🇺 Steve Smith ➜ 1,471
🇦🇺 David Warner ➜ 1,439
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) January 19, 2021
In a video on the YouTube channel ‘Sports Today’, Michael Clarke explained how underrated Cheteshwar Pujara was and highlighted his importance to the current Indian team.
“Well, he (Cheteshwar Pujara) is Rahul Dravid all over again. Isn’t he? Well, I was lucky enough to play against the Great Wall. Very similar parts to Pujara’s game. He is very tough, he doesn’t give it away,” Michael Clarke said.
Cheteshwar Pujara was severely criticized for his ‘slow batting’ during the recently-concluded series. There was also talk about Pat Cummins having the wood over the right-hander.
However, Clarke credited Pujara for sticking to the basics and backing his natural game despite the external scrutiny.
“He has copped criticism, people were saying Cummins had his measure but they just couldn’t get him out. He copped everything but he didn’t change his natural game. That’s why he deserves so much credit,” he further added.
Cheteshwar Pujara’s role at No. 3 is to nullify the effect of the new ball, and that is exactly what he did throughout the series.
The 32-year-old faced a total of 928 balls in the four Tests, which is the most by any batsman. He also was the second-highest run-scorer for the visitors, with 271 runs and three half-centuries to his name.
Got hit on the body or the helmet at least 10 times, yet kept on fighting 💪🏻
Played over 200 balls and scored a brilliant 50 👏
— Sportskeeda (@Sportskeeda) January 19, 2021
Although Pujara received a lot of stick on social media for his low strike-rate, Michael Clarke believes both the Indian players as well as the team management understand his value.
“You know players don’t take him for granted. They love him being in the group. They know how important he is. In a cricketing world where everyone wants fours and sixes, there is still a role for a player like Pujara. He played a huge role in not only India winning the Gabba Test but once again India having success in these conditions,” Michael Clarke noted.
Backing up his stellar showing in the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Cheteshwar Pujara dished out another batting masterclass this time around.
Pujara’s performances in this series have proved yet again that he is an invaluable asset to the Indian team in the longest format.
-Got hit on the helmet.
-Got hit in the ribs.
-Got hit on the hands.
-Batting through the pain.
Cheteshwar Pujara reaches his fifty even after taking so much pain and blows on the body. Standing there just like The Wall for India. pic.twitter.com/XHCxCGGIuf
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) January 19, 2021