There were no monstrous hits and the runs were not scored at the rapid pace of Twenty20 cricket, but like with most classical stuff, the beauty of the art was so captivating that it lingered on in the mind of all those who were privileged to watch Cheteshwar Pujara's double hundred on
It was indeed a proud moment for the men who played an important role in shaping his career. "He's been with me from the time he was 19, he made his first-class debut under me. It's his best innings and I have seen all his innings, including the two double and the triple hundreds he scored in first-class cricket," said Saurashtra coach Debu Mitra.
"It was a different ball game against the England bowlers, especially Graeme Swann." "The off-spinner troubled all and Pujara played him the best. He did not sit back and made it a point to go down the pitch to meet it, either fully forward or backward," observed Mitra.
A striking feature of the batsman's play was his nerveless display when approaching a milestone. Beginning the day on 98, he was unfazed by the pressure tactics of the England team.
"He will go for his shots whether he's in the 90s or the 20s. Pujara always tries to play the ball on merit and that is what he did today," said the coach.
His father, Arvind, also a former Ranji player, who chiseled his technique during his formative years, said the key to his success was his strength of mind. "For me, his biggest strength is his balance. He has great control over his mind which helps him get through any situation in the game as well as in life," said Pujara Senior. "As a 13-year-old he had hit a triple hundred against Baroda in an under-14 game," he added.
Pujara spent eight and half hours at the crease, which proved that he was back to full fitness after undergoing a knee surgery.
"He has worked very hard to return to top fitness and this innings was a proof of it. His success is built around hardwork. Even though his place in the Indian team was secure, he came to play an Under-25 match last month."
The innings has underlined the fact that Pujara, alongwith Virat Kohli, has it in him to carry the Indian batting on his shoulders over the next decade. The only test remaining is playing abroad on seaming wickets. His coach is confident though. "A good player will adapt to different conditions; that's his greatness."