Pujara’s one of the most committed and cricket-oriented persons I’ve known
By Sitanshu Kotak | Express News Service | Published: 03rd August 2017 07:22 AM |
What Cheteshwar has done so far is something that’s really unparallelled for Kathiawari and Saurashtrian people, and not to mention cricket lovers in general. Knowing him, playing with him and being the coach of his state team is a great feeling.
He’s a player who always performs, no matter how much pressure he’s under. I think it’s a big achievement. But I suppose he won’t be looking at it the same way, considering that he’s the kind of a cricketer who is destined to play in more than 100 Tests, and still keep going on. That’s just one facet of his commitment to the sport.
That, and the fact that he doesn’t focus on milestones. But since everyone is talking about it, I’m sure he will round off his 50th Test with a century. There’s a lot more to come in his career.
One aspect of Cheteshwar that you tend to notice is temperament. Be it a 10 or a double century, I’ve never noticed any change in his behaviour after. His confidence remains the same, irrespective of the outcome on the field. That I think is the biggest secret behind his current success. He is so mentally strong that failures are not able to dent his confidence. His on-field stability and consistence of behaviour are things that I both admire and appreciate.
Be it off the field or on it, he is one of the most cricket-oriented people that I have known. That shows from the extreme discipline that he has — and will continue to do so — espoused in his life. He doesn’t stay out late into the night and isn’t into clubbing or party culture. That’s not him.
There’s a reason why Cheteshwar dotes on his family. His mother was a pillar of support, and its saddening that she passed away when he was young. His father’s commitment too deserves a huge mention, considering the role it has played in ensuring his son’s success. His wife too has been a considerable presence for him.
Another trait of Cheteshwar that stays with you is humility. Irrespective of age, you will never feel intimidated or awkward while asking him for advice. They are never refused, and they never come back unsatisfied.
Whenever somebody goes to him — obviously, considering the amount of cricket he’s been involved in — they always come back a bit more learned. I too have benefitted from his experiences, and not to mention the joy that I have derived from the conversations between us. That’s just yet another reflection of the kind of person he is.
(The writer is a former Saurashtra teammate and current state coach of Pujara. He spoke to Rahul Ravikumar)