Cheteshwar Pujara has a penchant for tall scores. And this is nothing new. The Saurashtra batsman scored his first triple-hundred in an under-14 age-group match against Baroda when he was only 13.
And the habit he inculcated in his early teens has persisted. He has scored three triple centuries — two in CK Nayadu (u-22) and the other against Orissa in Ranji Trophy — in the last month. And the icing on the cake, his triple hundred against Orissa saw him marching into the record books for stitching together a 520-run fifth wicket partnership with Ravindra Jadeja.
"It's a huge feat to better a record standing in the name of Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh," said Pujara.
The world record and the big scores he often comes up with speak volumes of his unflappable focus and concentration, along with an insatiable hunger for runs. How does he stay so focused? "I am a religious person. The trait keeps me calm and composed and it reflects in my game as well," he said.
His father Arvind Pujara, however, puts it down to his hard work and hunger to succeed. "He's simply crazy about the game and puts in so much effort. And it's the reward of the hard work he has put in that he is reaping now," he said.
Nonetheless, scoring three triple centuries in such a short span would have tested his mental and physical strength. "Yes, it's indeed tough. But then one has to be focused, determined and strong enough to handle all this," he said.
The other striking feature of his batting is its correctness. But the moment one tries to get him talking about it, he wastes no time in reminding people that he can improvise and change gears when required, perhaps fearing that he might be pushed into a Test-only bracket. "Right preparation is the key to succeed in any format and I feel comfortable in any format," he said.
As for his India chances, the ultimate dream of any aspiring cricketer, the middle-order batsman feels he is getting runs at the tight time. "I am doing my job and I am sure the call would come one day if I keep doing well," he said.