Arvind Pujara stood a proud man at the Saurashtra Cricket Association ground on Friday. It was the realisation of his dream which had started to take shape in 1998 when he gave his son, Cheteshwar Pujara, his first lessons in cricket.
“The first batting lessons I gave him was in 1998, at the Railway ground here,” said Arvind, as calm as ever, minutes after Cheteshwar Pujara had walked back to a standing ovation for scoring a century.
“Naturally, it feels good he has got a hundred playing at his home ground. What was most fulfilling was that he was in full flow right from the start,” said Pujara Sr., himself a former Saurashtra Ranji player, watching the game from the lower bay of the Pavilion Stand.
On way to his ninth Test hundred, the only period of play which would have caused some anxiety to the father was when Chris Woakes hit Cheteshwar thrice on the helmet in quick succession. Pujara Sr analysed it just as a coach would. “I think the wicket was slow so Chesteshwar was finding it difficult to judge the bounce.”
His son went into tea at 99, but there were no nervous nineties for the father-son duo. “I knew Cheteshwar will not try to bat differently to get to 100. I was assured about it but cricket is a game in which anything can happen on one ball.”
“What I liked was he was he was middling it well. People would have enjoyed watching it.”