At a time when youngsters in Indian cricket are hooked on to the concept of T20, which coaches in the domestic circuit feel is fast becoming a deterrent to developing players who put a price on their wicket, a batsman like Cheteshwar Pujara is an exception.
The 20-year-old, in his four-year domestic career, has established himself as one of the most reliable middle-order batsmen with close to 3000 runs.
With three of India's best nearing retirement, the names of Murali Vijay, S. Badrinath, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary and Rohit Sharma, all of whom have represented India either in Tests or one-dayers, are tipped to fill in the huge boots.
Pujara's name was temporarily pushed back after he picked up an injury during a practice match for the Kolkata Knight Riders in South Africa in April. He underwent an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery, which kept him out of action for close to seven months.
"I could not play cricket but I think the break helped keep my mind fresh. Just after middling the first two deliveries against Maharashtra, I felt confident and my hunger for runs came back," Pujara, told HT after landing here for Saurashtra’s Ranji Trophy match against Bengal.