No secret, it’s mind over matter behind Pujara's performance: father and first coach Arvind
By Arvind Pujara | Express News Service | Published: 04th August 2017 08:31 AM |
People often ask me about my son’s secret to success. I say there is no secret. He is here because he wanted this and worked hard to get it. If there is something that sets him apart, it’s balance of mind. He has always been a focussed person, who doesn’t get distracted until he has reached his goals. This is one trait I noticed since he was making triple centuries at the under-14 level. Even today in Colombo, I saw no difference.
Although I did coach him when he was young, I must credit his late mother for inculcating the values of being patient and respectful, which are useful assets in any walk of life. As a kid, Cheteshwar was fond of video games. His mother imposed a condition that to play, he had to offer prayer to God for five minutes. Keen to play, he did what he was asked to. I didn’t like the idea and told her that she was blackmailing him.
That’s when his mother explained to me that she was actually trying to instil in him virtues which would stand him in good stead later on in life. She said that it wasn’t only about performing a pooja or praying to God, but about helping our kid be obedient and disciplined, which would eventually help him in the process of learning.
Today as I see Cheteshwar overcome obstacles on way to scoring a century in his 50th Test, I realise how true she had been. A lot of his success has to do with mindset. Of course he has the skills and other traits to excel at this level, but mental discipline has been his biggest strength. No college or university could have taught this, which is why I insist that the contribution made by his mother has been immense. You can ask what is this mental discipline? Those representing their country in Test cricket know how to deal with different types of deliveries. For a Test player and especially a batsman, it’s crucial to know when to do certain things and when to refrain from them. It’s important to block or leave when the situation demands, if you are to build long innings. One has to judge when to be aggressive if that is priority. That’s how Cheteshwar has gone about it, not getting bothered about short-term results and focussing solely on the ultimate objective of scoring big.
A lot of people have said that he has changed his approach since last season and is looking more proactive in terms of looking for runs. They have also noticed changes in his playing style. Interacting with Rahul Dravid has also benefited him. While a lot of it has helped, humility and calmness remain the catalyst as far as I am concerned.
(A former Ranji Trophy player, Cheteshwar Pujara’s father Arvind was his first coach)
India 1st innings: Dhawan lbw Perera 35, Rahul (run out) 57, Pujara (batting) 128, Kohli c Mathews b Herath 13, Rahane (batting) 103, Extras (b4, nb1, lb3) 8, Total (3 wickets; 90 overs) 344. FoW: 1-56, 2-109, 3-133 Bowling: Pradeep 17.4-2-63-0, Herath 24-3-83-1, Karunaratne 3-0-10-0, Perera 18-2-68-1, Pushpakumara 19.2-0-82-0, De Silva 8-0-31-0.